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UPDATE: Washington State wildfire south of Chilliwack Lake growing in size

A large plume of smoke seen to the southeast from Chilliwack on Friday was from a wildfire over the Canada-U.S. border.

The North Cascade National Park Service Complex reported on the detection of the Bear Creek fire Friday morning.

It was reported at that time the fire was about 100 acres and growing, but by Sunday that was updated to 150 acres.

There was a small amount of rain that fell overnight but the size of the fire was still expected to increase as more accurate mapping information becomes available.

Saturday’s fire behaviour was significantly less due to cooler temperatures and moisture in the area.

“The fire is in a remote wilderness area with extremely steep terrain, very limited access and heavy, low-moisture, fuel loads,” according to an Aug. 1 update from the park service. “Due to the location, weather, and smoke constraints, firefighters are unable to currently engage directly on the fires edge safely. Crews are actively gathering intelligence and information to develop safe and effective strategic planning opportunities to implement a confine and contain strategy on the fire.

Location of the Bear Creek wildfire in Washington State at 100 acres in size just south of Chilliwack Lake as of July 31, 2021. (fire.airnow.gov)

“Park officials have closed portions of the Copper Ridge and Chilliwack trails due to the fire’s proximity,” the service said on Friday. “The Copper Ridge Trail is closed from Copper Lookout to the junction with the Chilliwack Trail. The Chilliwack Trail is closed from the junction of Brush Creek Trail to terminus. Copper Lake, Bear Creek, Indian Creek, and Little Chilliwack camps are also closed.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

In the U.S., those who see smoke or flames are asked to dial 911 or report to a park visitor or information centre. And contact the Wilderness Information Center for trail information at, 360-854-7245.

In B.C., to report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour that could start a wildfire in British Columbia, please call 1 800 663-5555 or (*5555 from a cell phone) as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Billions in losses, thousands could die if wildfire response unchanged: report

READ MORE: See smoke? Here’s how to help crews when you report a wildfire from a B.C. expert


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Paul Henderson

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