A helicopter flies over Agassiz Mountain

Crews working to contain Harrison area fire

Officials say the fire is the result of human activity, are investigating

Fire crews are still working to put out a small fire that popped up overnight near the small village of Harrison Hot Springs.

The fire was reported to be about 2.5 hectares in size, at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and helicopters have been seen heading into the river valley to extinguish the flames.

The fire is on Agassiz Mountain, to the west of Harrison Hot Springs.

Heavy smoke is coming into the southern Harrison Lake area from the river valley. There have been 160 lightning strikes over the last few days in the Fraser Valley, causing at least 16 fires.

However, fire information officer Mike McCalley said that this fire is being considered human caused and is under investigation.

The fire is also what is known as an interface fire, which means it is endangering infrastructure. In this case, the infrastructure being threatened are BC Hydro wires. The fires is located four kilometres from the Village of Harrison, on the south side of the river.

McCalley noted that there will be limited access to the river, for public safety.

The BC Wildlife Management Branch has sent in six helicopters, an air tanker, and 28 firefighters to deal with the flames, which are occurring on “fairly steep terrain.”

Residents and visitors to the area will be noticing a lot of smoke as they work to contain the fire, which McCalley said is about three hectares (11:30 a.m.)

“Fire crews are working really hard to (keep the fire away from the wires),” he said. “It’s very early on in this fire.”

The fire has now been listed as a “fire of note” on their website, at www.bcwildfire.ca.

 

Hiking trail closed

The popular hiking trail that traverses up Agassiz Mountain, where the fire is located, has been closed until further notice. Tourism Harrison announced the closure late this morning, after getting word that the fire is as large as 4 hectares.

“Agassiz Mountain is the mountain on the west side of Harrison. Campbell Lake trail aka the Harrison Grind which climbs Agassiz mountain will be closed until further notice. Please share with any of your hiking friends.”

More help coming

The Wildfire Management Branch has requested the assistance of over 70 out-of-province personnel to aid in fire suppression efforts to help with the increase in fire activity.

They issued a news release to inform that one Type 1 Incident Management Team from Alberta, consisting of 14 personnel, arrived in B.C. on July 14 and has since been deployed to the Red Deer Creek fire located about 61 kilometres southeast of Tumbler Ridge.

And on Thursday, 55 additional personnel will arrive from Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec. They comprise two Type 1 Incident Management Teams, one Type 2 Incident Management Team and other single resources.

These requests for assistance are in addition to the 21 personnel from Ontario that arrived in B.C. on Sunday, July 13.

All of these out-of-province personnel will provide command and co-ordination support to fire crews on the ground. There are no out-of-province firefighters in B.C. at this time.

The Wildfire Management Branch has responded to 573 wildfires so far this season. There are currently 12 active fires of note burning within the boundaries of the Prince George, Kamloops, Cariboo and Northwest fire centres. Most of these fires were caused by lightning.

The Wildfire Management Branch notes that these fires serve as a reminder that as lightning activity within the province increases, extra caution is needed to prevent person-caused wildfires. Each person-caused fire diverts critical resources away from natural, lightning-caused fires.

To report a fire call: 800-663-5555 or *5555.

 

 

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