Rain that fell over the weekend did little to slow a tenacious wildfire burning north of Agassiz.
The Mt. Hicks Fire (previously called the High Creek Fire) started last Wednesday near Highway 7. It has since grown to 150 hectares in size and is zero per cent contained, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.
Although the fire is not threatening any homes or structures, it did force the closure and evacuation of Sasquatch Provincial Park on Saturday. A change in the fire’s behaviour prompted the move as a precaution.
The wildfire is also affecting traffic on Highway 7. The roadway is being closed periodically as helicopters and fire personnel work in the area. Motorists are urged to avoid the highway if possible, using Highway 1 as an alternative.
There are currently five helicopters and nearly 40 firefighters working the blaze. They’re being supported by the Agassiz Fire Department. The Kent Emergency Operations Centre has been also been opened to support firefighting efforts.
Weekend rain did provide some relief from searing heat that sent at least one Agassiz firefighter to hospital last week. But it also brought more challenges, said officials with the District of Kent. The location of the fire in very steep terrain is making the fire very difficult to fight. Rain brings the added risk of mudslides and uprooted trees, officials said.
The fire is also creating heavy smoke in the area. Environment Canada has issued an Air Quality Alert for the region and encourages those with respiratory concerns to remain indoors.