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

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
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)
B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road and one east of Harrison Lake as of Monday, May 17, 2021. (BC Fire Services)

A forest fire near Sts’ailes First Nation has been brought under control, holding at 13 hectares.

Located is 5.5 km up the Chehalis Forest Service Road, the fire west of Chehalis has been burning for the past two days. 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.

According to the Sts’ailes First Nation, BC Fire Service sent in an “Initial Attack” crew on site and a second crew later on Sunday along with helicopter bucketing and security. The cool, wet weather on Monday likely contributed to getting the blaze under control.

The fire was close to the Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village, which is a minimum security facility with an aboriginal focus. The fire is said to be currently moving away from that site and poses no immediate danger.

“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 what she witnessed this past weekend made her fear for the community.

“You can see the smoke,” she told Black Press on Sunday. “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.”

Amid the fear, she said 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.”

A second fire was discovered on Sunday in the Silver River area. The blaze is on the east side of Harrison Lake and has consumed about 16 hectares, growing from its initial reported size of one hectare, according to B.C. Wildfire Service.

The cause of both blazes remains unknown as of Monday morning.

These are the second and third wildfires in the region this season so far. The first was on Mt. Woodside on April 14.

READ MORE: Agassiz, Seabird Island firefighters contain Mt. Woodside wildfire


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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