British Columbia

New Harrison Lake wildfire grows five-fold in a day

It is separate from the 202-hectare, interface Harrison Lake wildfire that's been burning since July.

Fire believed to have been human-caused, officials say

A second wildfire near Harrison Lake, B.C. was spotted around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Officials say it was likely human-caused. (Michael Thornquist)

A new wildfire near Harrison Lake has grown overnight, adding to a long list of human-caused fires in the Coastal region this year.

The fire was reported around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, 12 kilometres northeast of Harrison Lake. It is separate from the 202-hectare, interface Harrison Lake wildfire that's been burning since July.

Jessica Poustie, information officer at the Coastal Fire Centre, said the new fire was initially estimated to be about six hectares in size. By Sunday morning, it had grown to around 30 hectares.

As of 3 p.m., it wasn't threatening any structures or major roadways. Poustie said the fire is believed to have been sparked by people.

The public is being asked to avoid the area so they don't interfere with firefighting water tenders, helicopters and scooper air tankers using the lake.

85% of coastal fires human-caused

The Coastal Fire Centre covers Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast.

Of the 80 wildfires in the centre's boundaries this year, the B.C. Wildfire Service said 68 are believed to have been human-caused.

Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek another five were caused by lightning and the rest are undetermined.

"We're really stressing to the public: please, please, please be diligent ... there's things we can do to ensure these stats aren't the way they are," Poustie said.

The Harrison Lake wildfire that broke out on July 1 was one of the first major fires of the summer. It is now estimated to be more than 200 hectares in size. (Chris Corday/CBC)

More than 75 per cent of people living in B.C. are within those five regions.

"We do have a large population and a transient population that comes through," Poustie said, when asked why the coastal centre could have such a high ratio of human-caused fires.

B.C. is in the midst of its worst wildfire season on record, with more than 900,000 hectares of land being burned since April 1.

The province has extended its state of emergency until September, making it the longest such declaration in B.C. history.


  • An earlier version of this story quoted a fire official who said 75 of the 80 wildfires in the Coastal region were caused by people. A B.C. Wildfire Service official amended that figure, saying it was 68.
    Aug 20, 2017 3:02 PM PT