A photo of the Chehalis fire around 11 a.m. on Sunday morning (May 16, 2021). (Walt Bliault photo)

A photo of the Chehalis fire around 11 a.m. on Sunday morning (May 16, 2021). (Walt Bliault photo)

UPDATE: Harrison Lake fire holds steady at 22 hectares, Harrison Mills area fire under control

The Harrison Mills fire is suspected to be human-caused

Updated 1:35 p.m.

While a weekend fire near the Sts’ailes First Nation is holding steady at 13 hectares, another fire across Harrison Lake has grown to 22 hectares and has been brought under control as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Harrison Lake fire was discovered on Sunday in the Silver River area and has been burning for at least two days. On Sunday, the initial report said the fire was one hectare in size, which grew to 16 on Monday and 22 hectares as of Tuesday morning. By the afternoon, the fire remained steady, umoving past the 22-hectare mark.

The Chehalis area fire is located 5.5 kilometres up Chehalis Forest Service Road and has been burning for three days; firefighters gained control of the blaze on Monday afternoon. With the fire burning north of Harrison Mills, smoke was visible as far away as Lake Errock and Chilliwack. It was close to minimum security facility Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village but moved away, putting the site out of immediate danger.

RELATED: 13-hectare fire near Harrison Mills ‘under control’, Harrison Lake fire grows to 16 hectares

“Sts’ailes has a communication protocol with BCFS for notifications and updates to ensure there are no risks to the community, environment, infrastructures or cultural/spiritual values,” the message to residents said. “Our thoughts are with the responders, the land and those affected by this. Please be safe.”

B.C. Wildfire Service said steep terrain and danger trees made this fire particularly difficult to fight. Cool, wet weather on Monday aided in

Resident Inez Watters praised Sts’ailes leadership, including Chief Ralph Leon Jr., for their swift communication and action.

“I’m very honored also that Sts’ailes has a very strong chief and council and many band members who are keeping our First Nations community members updated and keeping our anxiety under control,” she said. “One mind, One Nation, One Heart. We can all get through this as we all keep positive.”

RELATED: Agassiz, Seabird Island firefighters contain Mt. Woodside wildfire

The Chehalis area fire is believed to be human caused while the cause of the Harrison Lake fire is listed as unknown as of publication. Both fires remain under investigation.

As of Tuesday morning, there have been 212 wildfires in the province with nine igniting this week. There are 21 active wildfires in B.C. as of publication.

The two ongoing fires in tha Agassiz-Harrison area are the second and third wildfires in the region this season so far. The first was on Mt. Woodside on April 14.

– With files from Jessica Peters


@adamEditor18
adam.louis@ ahobserver.com

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