Harrison Lake wildfire grows to 65 hectares

The human-caused fire is now 20 per cent contained

A wildfire discovered Saturday night on the eastern side of Harrison Lake had grown to 65 hectares by Wednesday morning, with 20 per cent containment.

The fire – human caused, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service – is 12 kilometres northeast of Harrison Lake, near Slollicum Creek.

It is is moving upslope, says the wildfire service, and has grown in size.

More than 40 firefighters were on the ground battling the blaze with heavy equipment support this week. They were backed up in the air by four helicopters, plus three air tankers and a spotter plane.

Although the fire poses no risk to any structures, it is labeled as a “fire of note” because of its visibility and large quantity of smoke. It can be clearly seen from nearby Harrison Hot Springs Resort and smoke is drifting as far away as Mount Woodside.

(Video by Alley Langley)

The blaze is well south of an earlier fire 30 kilometres north of Harrison Hot Springs. That human-caused fire, which has burned since July 1, has scorched 202 hectares and is still only 60 per cent contained.

The Slollicum Creek wildfire is just the latest in this, the worst wildfire season on record for the province for B.C.

So far, more than 9,000 square kilometres have burned and a state of emergency, declared July 19, has been extended to Sept 1.

A total ban on campfires also exists, bringing fines of $1,150.

But that’s not all.

“If your fire escapes and results in a wildfire,” warns the B.C. environment ministry, “you may be fined anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million and be sentenced to one year in prison.”

The Agassiz Fire Department is also reminding boaters and drivers to keep a wide berth from the fire.

“Please do not travel by land or water into the area to look at the fire,” they asked on their Facebook page.” Allow fire personnel to work without interference so they can bring this fire under control a soon as possible.”

They brought out Agassiz Engine 1-2 and Tender 1-5 Sunday night. Agassiz firefighters worked with wildland members to slow and stop the fire from jumping the road and continue burning towards the main service road and lake.

They said extremely dry and windy conditions fueled the fire, instantly turning fully grown trees into a rank 4-5 fire. RCMP and Conservation officers assisted with road closures and notifying people up the lake with recommendations to leave the areas that were at risk.