Agassiz-Harrison has been shrouded in smoke for the past few days due primarily to a growing wildfire in the Hope area.
The Flood Falls Trail fire has razed 520 hectares and it continues to grow. Locals have reported hours-long standstills on multiple highways in the area as eastbound Highway 1 closed down between Chilliwack and Hope, forcing traffic on to Highways 9 and 7. Evacuation orders were still in effect for at least a dozen properties in the Hunter Creek and Laidlaw areas.
The fire is reportedly human-caused.
Locals throughout Agassiz-Harrison peppered social media groups with offers of help to those affected by the ongoing wildfires, from space for horses to parking for vehicles.
Smoke-induced Air quality and visibility issues in the Fraser Valley in particular has prompted a special weather statement from Environment Canada that began on Saturday. Ash fell from the sky in some areas. Mulltiple wildfires in the Manning Park area, in Hope and across the border in Washington state and Oregon have contributed to the smoky atmosphere in the eastern Fraser Valley. Smoky conditions could start to see clearing into Monday evening and into Tuesday if wind patterns cooperate.
Due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter caused by the fires, it’s recommended to postpone or reduce physical and outdoor activity. The particulate matter is a concern for those with certain underlying conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and/or diabetes; individuals with respiratory infections; pregnant women and infants; children; older adults; and outdoor workers (e.g. construction and agricultural workers). Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk (e.g. people who are experiencing homelessness or are underhoused).
The Flood Falls Trail fire poses a particular challenge to firefighters due to very steep terrain.
– With files from Jennifer Feinberg and Kemone Moodley