Juggernaut wildfires are wreaking havoc on our beautiful province of BC, with the entire Cariboo region and areas of the Interior battling to save homes, industry and livelihoods. We now share our home with K’s parents who had to be evacuated due to one of these aggressive fires, something we are more than happy to do. It gives us an opportunity to help make their evacuation a little bit easier and be able to be with them during this difficult time. To date, their home and town has been spared, with the fire moving away from the main township. Unfortunately some of the surrounding areas have not been so lucky and there have been a few homes lost.
With shifting winds, we are given a reprieve from the thick choking smoke, and we had a few days of fairly clear skies with only a hint of smoke on the breeze. Our garden, as well as our guests, enjoyed the fresh air and took advantage of the first full sun in days. It is hard to want to walk down our hill to check on the plants when every breath you take is filled with smoky ash and particulates. So we also took advantage of these few days and harvested some of our veggies, and took some time to weed by our walls.
With the shifting of winds once again, the smoke has once again return to our valley and we are once again stuck indoors. There are health advisories to not do any strenuous exercise outdoors and to avoid being out in the smoke too long. Those with breathing issues such as asthma, COPD, etc. struggle even indoors.
BC has always had fire seasons and growing up we always had to deal with a hazy day here and there. This year is the worst I can remember, even worse than my memories of the 2003 fire season where most of BC was on fire. The Emergency Operations Centre has reported that these fires are exhibiting violent behaviors and have been more aggressive than the fires we experienced in 2003. The province declared a state of emergency within 3 days of the storm that lit a path of fires through them middle of our province. Fire season traditionally doesn’t start until the end of July, we are over 3 weeks early and have already evacuated 36,000+ people from their homes. The Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre has said this is just the beginning of our fire season, we must all be diligent to ensure that it doesn’t get worse.
The hard part about what is happening in BC, is that most of it is from dry-lightening. There are a few that are suspected to be man-caused, but how do you prepare for dry conditions, lack of rain and dry-storms hitting every few days. During the initial storm the PWCC could not keep up with the recording of new fires starting, that is how fast they were happening.
Through all of this, we are lucky enough to have a beautiful yard to look over when the wind has swept the smoke away enough to make it enjoyable and safe to be outside. We have had a few nice dinners out on the patio, with the backdrop of our barrels overflowing with flowers. It certainly doesn’t stop us from thinking about all the evacuees, or the firefighters working long, hard hours to save what they can, but it certainly brings some short, beautiful breaks to the otherwise smoky & dreary weather.
At last check, our plants don’t seem to be affected by the copious amounts of smoke that has clogged our valley. They seem to be health, thriving and growing as they should. Such an odd season we have had so far, and it may continue that trend throughout the summer. Hopefully these fires will move away from towns & cities and the evacuees can get back to their homes and lives.
And to all the EOC, ESS, PWCC and firefighters, it is you who we all thank.