Wildfire sparks tense moments in the CRV

Cooler weather is helping more than 40 firefighters as they mop up from the weekend’s wildfire in the Chilliwack River Valley.

forest fire

forest fire

Cooler weather is helping more than 40 firefighters as they mop up from the weekend’s wildfire in the Chilliwack River Valley.

On Monday, the City of Chilliwack said the fire was 100 per cent contained.

The fire, which was first reported Friday afternoon, had grown to more than 17 hectares by Saturday.

BC Wildfire Service brought in four helicopters and two air tankers to help fight the fire.

They were joined by more than 60 firefighters on the ground, as well as RCMP to keep people back for the fire area.

Working with the provincial fire service were local firefighters from Chilliwack and Chilliwack River Valley departments, providing what the city called “a unified effort.”

The fire was located near Bench Road and the Chilliwack Army Forest Service Road in the Chilliwack River Valley. Smoke could be clearly seen rising above Promontory and Ryder Lake neighbourhoods.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Donna MacPherson, Fire Information Officer with the B.C Wildfire Service, said it was likely human caused.

There were no homes in the immediate vicinity of the fire. However, homeowners a few kilometres away watched anxiously Friday afternoon as helicopters thumped overhead and air tankers dropped bright red fire retardent.

“It’s 3km from us and if the wind heads west it will be coming our way,” wrote Brad Moseanko on the Chilliwack Progress Facebook page.

Bench Road at Elkview/Lookout and at Army Forest Service Road remain closed until further notice. Access is also restricted at the last residence up Slesse Park Road.

The closures are a safety precaution, said the city, both for firefighters and the public.

Last week’s wildfire came as temperatures soared in Chilliwack.

Friday was another record breaker, with the daytime high reaching 36 degrees, shattering the old Aug. 19 mark set in 1915 by nearly four degrees.

Thursday’s high of 35.8 degrees was the hottest Aug. 18 on record, said Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada. The previous high of 33.3 degrees was set in 1965.

It’s also been dry, Pannett said. Only 1.2 mm of rain has fallen since July 23. The humidity on Thursday was just 12 per cent.

The cooler temperatures helped  Monday, but the heat is expected to return Wednesday.

Hot, dry conditions have prompted a campfire ban throughout the Costal Fire Region, which includes Chilliwack.

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