A small forest fire has started in the Harrison Mills area, and continues to grow.
The B.C. Wildfire Service first listed the fire as 1.5 hectares as of Sunday morning, and its location is 5.5 km up the Chehalis Forest Service Road. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, and it was discovered in the evening on May 15.
Several new calls came into fire departments Sunday morning, as fire smoke became visible in Chilliwack. Firefighters investigated to ensure there isn’t a second fire in the area, and there was not.
Harrison Mills is almost directly north of Chilliwack, across the Fraser River. This is the second wildfire in the region this season so far. The first was on Mt. Woodside on April 14.
On Sunday afternoon, Sts’ailes First Nation said they are in communication with the BC Fire Service, who has an “Initial Attack” crew on site and another crew on the way to help.
There will also be helicopter bucketing used, and security.
The fire is close to the Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village, which is a minumum security facility with an aboriginal focus. The fire is said to be currently moving away from that site.
“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.”
Inez Watters lives in the area and said she fears for the community.
“You can see the smoke,” she told Black Press. “It’s very, very thick. I am so worried as we have elders here with asthma and also so many children. I pray that the Creator brings rain as soon as possible.”
At the same time, she says she trusts the leadership at Sts’ailes, including Chief Ralph Leon Jr.
“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.”
Just after lunch, the fire was estimated to have grown to three hectares. There is a light wind in the area, and rain is expected on Monday.
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