An aggressive wildfire burning near Harrison Lake is now estimated to be roughly 650 hectares in size.
The rapidly growing fire went from 100 to 600 hectares between Monday and Tuesday due to strong winds. By Wednesday morning, the growth had slowed down thanks to slower winds.
Donna MacPherson, coastal fire information officer, says the rain falling Wednesday morning was not expected to make a big difference, though she adds, “it will slow the growth of the fire.”
As of Tuesday, resources included 70 firefighters, six helicopters, two heavy equipment machines as well as fixed wing air tankers and the Martin Mars water bomber, which was brought out of retirement in July to help the rampant wildfire situation in B.C. this summer. The Mars water bomber, which can drop more than 27,000 litres of water in one pass, joined several smaller tanker planes in battling fire.
“We have lots of additional resources moving into the area today,” MacPherson reported Tuesday, explaining that precipitation up north has helped control wildfires so crews were able to be redistributed to the Harrison blaze.
MacPherson says the fire is currently burning northwards away from the village of Harrison Hot Springs and there is no risk to structures at this time. However, there are crews working on the south end of the fire to prevent it from moving southwards should the winds reverse.
The wildfire on the west side of Harrison Lake near Wood Lake was reported Sunday, August 2, estimated at approximately seven hectares in size. The fire is suspected to be human caused and preventable. Winds fanned the fire, which blew sparks and embers ahead of the fire, contributing to its growth.
On the morning of August 3, heavy smoke hampered personnel from seeing the whole fire perimeter. Campers were evacuated from 10-Mile Bay and Wood Lake on Sunday. And while 20-Mile Bay was not directly threatened, campers were escorted out of the area too as a precaution.
As of Tuesday morning, fire officials are looking to work on an indirect attack, which means to back up and begin building a fire guard, according to MacPherson.
They are also looking to assess the ability of people further up the west side of Harrison Lake to leave the area via the road north to Pemberton.
They are not being threatened by the fire at all, but we will be looking at how capable they are to get out, explains MacPherson.