Search escalates for mushroom picker now missing for 6 days

Frances Brown was separated from her picking companion while in a remote area near Smithers, B.C. on Oct. 14, 2017.

Frances Brown was separated from her picking companion while in a remote area near Smithers, B.C.

RCMP say Frances Brown went missing while searching for mushrooms with her companion on Oct. 14, 2017. (Smithers RCMP)

Nineteen search and rescue crews are now working to find a mushroom picker who went missing near Smithers, B.C., almost a week ago.

Frances Brown, 53, was separated from her picking companion Oct. 14 in a remote and heavily forested area west of Highway 16 between Smithers and Hazelton.

"We have found a number of clues," said Chris Mushumanski, public relations officer with B.C. Search and Rescue. "The search is focused on an area between three roads with a creek running down the middle of it."

Brown, a First Nations woman, is said to know the area and has some backcountry experience. She was carrying rain and hiking gear, as well as a lighter.

"There is a lot of forest area where, if somebody hunkered down, they could get out of the elements. The fuel in places is dry and we're continuing to make progress in the search," said Mushumanski.

RCMP said in a release that Brown cannot hear out of one of her ears.

Searchers were slowed by snow and rain earlier in the week but weather has since improved, aiding searchers.

Nineteen search and rescue teams from across B.C. are now involved in the effort to find missing mushroom picker Frances Brown. (Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue/Facebook)

The scale of the effort is the largest in Northern British Columbia in "many, many years" according to Mushumanski.

"Yesterday we had three helicopters in the air, spotters in the air from [the provincial emergency program], Bulkley Valley amateur radio helping us with communications and the Salvation Army out there cooking hot meals," he said.

"There's a lot of concern given the amount of time that has passed but the search and rescue community continues to get out there and cover the ground thoroughly and safely."

With files from CBC's Daybreak North