Popkum firefighters and Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue volunteers bring an injured person to a waiting Air Ambulance at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park on July 14, 2019. (Photo KHSAR volunteer Ian Maslin)

Popkum firefighters and Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue volunteers bring an injured person to a waiting Air Ambulance at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park on July 14, 2019. (Photo KHSAR volunteer Ian Maslin)

COVID-19 sparks busiest year on record for Kent-Harrison SAR

The search and rescue team responded to 68 incidents in 2020

The Kent Harrison Search and Rescue team had a record-setting year in 2020, with volunteers responding to 68 incidents over the course of the year.

According to a release from KHSAR, the high call volume was largely because of changes to summer activities caused by COVID-19.

“Travel restrictions caused many B.C. residents to ‘staycation,’ with many more than usual choosing to recreate in the backcountry,” the release reads.

This resulted in a number of calls for mutual assistance on Harrison Lake, as well as other incidents, including a treetop rescue on Mount Woodside in November.

RELATED: Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue saves paraglider in treetop rescue

The SAR group also responded to three fatalities throughout the year, less than the five fatalities reported in 2019.

RELATED: Body of Maple Ridge man recovered near Harrison Lake

The last year that rivalled 2020 for call volume was 2007, when the team responded to around 65 calls. The number of incidents decreased in 2008, and since then had rarely gone over 50. According to KHSAR manager Neil Brewer, there’s no clear indication why the numbers decreased in the 2010s, although there were fewer calls on Harrison Lake.

Kent Harrison SAR saw it’s busiest year ever in 2020. (Chart provided by Kent Harrison Search and Rescue)

Over the course of the year, KHSAR’s 27 members spent nearly 5,750 hours volunteering for the organization. The volunteers spent 2,566 hours responding to calls, 2,165 hours on training and 1,102 hours on maintenance, repairs and administration.

In 2021, the team will be welcoming five new members. They are currently undergoing core training and will be ready to respond to calls this spring.

In addition, KHSAR will be welcoming a new boat this year. The 26-foot Silver Streak landing craft will be replacing the team’s Shearwater, a 20-foot centre-console boat. The boat is meant to provide better access to shorelines, as well as a heated cabin.

The new boat was ordered in November 2020, and is estimated at $285,000. The boat will be delivered in June of this year. Once it is operational, the Shearwater will be sold.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sheriff Avory Chapman was last seen Jan. 20 on Wellington Avenue in Chilliwack. (RCMP)
RCMP look for missing man last seen in downtown Chilliwack

21-year-old Sheriff Avory Chapman has been missing since Jan. 20

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Recently elected NDP MLA Kelli Paddon is funding three $500 scholarships for students demonstrating a commitment to equity and social change. (Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon funding Equity and Social Change Scholarships

One of the scholarships is open to any graduating student in the Chilliwack-Kent electoral district

Paid parking returns to Harrison from May 15 to Sept. 15. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)
Harrison pay parking to arrive May 15, parking master plan in the works

The village will be looking at parking for the community as a whole in the new plan

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane towed across Chilliwack over weekend

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Most Read