Access to the west shores of Stave Lake is going to be limited, if not banned outright, due to extreme fire risks.
The District of Mission has decided to close access to the forestry road that leads up to Stave West – a 5,000-hectare area situated in northern Mission around the west side of Stave Lake.
Security will man a gate blocking the road in order to block access from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. A record will be kept of who goes in and out.
“There is no need for people to be up there (overnight) other than industrial users, people at the Zajac Ranch or at the campground,” said Bob O’Neal, Mission’s director of forestry.
“We currently have patrols on the weekend and we started our security staffing as well. But we are still finding that we are having issues in the middle of the night up there.”
Illegal bonfires, stolen cars, and gunfire are just some of the activities of concern ongoing in the area.
O’Neal said security will be in place to man the gate by the weekend. However, the evening closure may be just the beginning.
“If conditions continue to get worse, then we’d ask for a full closure.”
Provincial permission is needed to close the area altogether.
He added it is likely a complete closure could come as soon as next week. If that occurs, only people going to the Zajac Ranch or the campground will be permitted to enter.
O’Neal explained that the district is trying to prevent people taking stolen vehicles there or shooting off fireworks, which occurred last weekend.
The fireworks were the biggest concern, due to the current, extreme fire hazard conditions
“This is unprecedented the rating that we are in – we are off the scale,” said O’Neal.
Marj Drysdale, information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, said the Fraser Valley area is currently at extreme risk of fire.
“We really need people to understand that an extreme fire danger means that any little spark can take off.”
The hot dry weather has resulted in at least three fires in the Mission area in the past week.
July 6 – A 0.09 hectare fire was reported by Norrish Creek, three kilometres east of Norrish Creek Forest Service Road.
A team of three firefighters were dispatched by helicopter and managed to douse the blaze before it grew.
July 3 – A brush fire occurred at about noon in a vacant field on the southwest corner of Hurd Street and Seventh Avenue.
Mission firefighters arrived to see flames flickering above the rooftops of nearby homes. Crews managed to douse the fire before any property damage occurred.
June 30 – A half-hectare brush fire on Sylvester Road, east of Stave Lake and close to Davis Lake Provincial Park, required 16 firefighters, two helicopters and an air tanker to get under control.