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, Chehalis area fires holding steady, slowly shrinking after multi-day battle

The Harrison Lake fire shrunk by five hectares by Wednesday morning from the day prior

Updated Wednesday, 9:38 a.m.

A wildfire that grew to 22 hectares has been contained to about 17 hectares as firefighters battle two wildfires in the Agassiz-Harrison area.

A weekend fire near the Sts’ailes First Nation is holding steady at 13 hectares while another fire across Harrison Lake shrank from 22 hectares to 17.7 hectares; both fires are under control as of Wednesday morning.

The Harrison Lake fire was discovered on Sunday in the Silver River area and has been burning for at least three 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 Tuesday afternoon, the fire remained steady, umoving past the 22-hectare mark before it shrank heading into Wednesday morning.

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 keeping the flames at bay.

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 Wednesday morning, there have been 214 wildfires in the province with nine igniting this week. There are 19 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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