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'Highest priority': Fire fight shifts focus to smaller wildfire near Harrison Lake

Fire crews turn attention

Firefighters continue to battle two wildfires burning out of control near Harrison Lake with support from the air. 

The human-caused wildfire called Chehalis River wildfire was first discovered on Saturday, June 3. It has since grown from 500 hectares on Wednesday to 800 hectares on Thursday. 

Poor visibility from smoke meant aviation operations were limited on Wednesday, but BC Wildfire Service says there are increased aviation resources working on the fire now. 

However, attention is being focused on a smaller wildfire burning right beside Chehalis River. 

“Crew resources are diverting to Statlu Creek as this is the highest priority fire in the Fraser zone due to proximity to the community,” says BC Wildfire Service. 

The Statlu Creek wildfire is about 73 hectares in size. The cause of this fire is still under investigation. 

"BC Wildfire Service crews performing suppression and control,” says a spokesperson. “The fire is exhibiting challenging fuel and weather conditions with aggressive fire behaviour.”

There are no evacuation orders or alerts for either area, at this time.

BC Wildfire Service says the Statlu Creek wildfire is the closest fire of the two to nearby communities.

"I want to be really clear there are no communities or infrastructure being threatened by this fire at this time," says Coastal Fire Centre information officer Donna MacPherson. "This fire is relatively closer than other fires in the Fraser zone to communities." 

As the two wildfires continue to burn, the air quality has improved in the last 24 hours.

Metro Vancouver Regional District ended the air quality advisory but warns there is potential for more smoke to return and contribute to hazy conditions. 

"In the coming days, air quality may again be impacted by wildfire smoke and additional air quality advisories may be needed,” states the advisory.

Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures and wildfire behaviour change.

The air quality advisory was for Metro Vancouver along with central and eastern Fraser Valley.

There are currently 82 wildfires burning across the province. 

As of June 8, roughly 240 wildfires have been human-caused, 132 wildfires have been lightning-caused, which is higher than normal. A handful of fires are still under investigation. 



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