Smoky skies fill eastern Fraser Valley as Mount Hicks fire continues to burn

Air Quality Index again prompts warnings

The smell of smoke hung in the air in the eastern Fraser Valley Sunday as a wildfire 10 kilometres north of Agassiz continued to burn.

The Air Quality Index again breached 10 – the highest mark on the 10-point scale.

Metro Vancouver, which monitors air quality in the eastern Fraser Valley, continued its Air Quality Advisory Sunday because of the high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to smoke from wildfires burning in British Columbia and the western United States.

One of those fires, the Mount Hicks Fire near Agassiz, has been burning for 11 days. Strong outflow winds Friday night helped fan the blaze westward by another 25 hectares, prompting a warning from the District of Kent that residents might see the glow from the fire as it reached the peak of the mountain.

The wildfire still poses no threat to any homes or structures, officials pointed out, but the winds were blowing additional smoke into the area.

The intermittent closure of Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope also continues as firefighters use the roadway for a staging area.

Sasquatch Provincial Park and its campgrounds remain closed as well, however BC Parks was expected to re-assess the situation on Monday.

The blaze is now 155 hectares in size and is only 30 per cent contained, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The steep terrain is making it difficult to fight the fire. Nearly 50 firefighters and four helicopters have been deployed to protect power lines and maintain containment on the west.

Environment Canada is expecting the smoky skies to continue until at least past Monday.

It’s warning persons with chronic underlying medical conditions to postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Read More: Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Read More: Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Read More: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

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