July 22, 2021
Fire burned the tinder-dry forests all around us. Ashes coated my car and I could see it falling like warm snowflakes in the sky. Smoke has descended back into the valley so thick I could taste it as I breathed in the air. The weather has remained hot and dry and our forests have had no relief. Much needed rain has eluded us for the past months and we are paying a heavy price.
And the vast swaths of timber burned on around us.
South of us, they have evacuated Osoyoos. North, it was Sicamous. My brother called from the Slocan valley and told me he was on evacuation alert. There are hundreds, even thousands, of fires burning across the nation and all over North America. This week a crew of Mexican firefighters arrived to help battle the raging blazes in our beautiful province. A province dried out by three months with very little rain.
Drought is an ominous word, one I have rarely heard about in any place I have lived. I’m sure it won’t be long before that word is bantered about in my home town. Fortunately, we have a vast resource of water in the valley bottom and the mountain tops.
Planes have flown overhead at various times and the water has taken a shortcut to the mountain tops. Helicopters have also added their resources, flying rotating cycles and dousing the flames, bucket by bucket Gallon by gallon, water and fuel are consumed all day long, all across our vast province, nation and continent. If we don’t get a lot of rain soon the fire season of 2021 will go down on record as on of the costliest ever. The cost to the environment and the material cost is staggering. The last two bad fire seasons of 2017 and 2018 cost BC taxpayers over 600 million dollars each year. We have another six weeks of fire season remaining – we may well exceed the price for that year.
This year the loss of an entire town and the lives of two of its residents, has put an exclamation mark on the price Mother Nature makes us pay.
The warm amazing weather has been steller. I don’t remember a better summer for warm days and no rain. You would think it was the ultimate summer. Until we look outside and see the haze of smoke clinging in the air. In the Okanagan valley we have escaped the brut of the smokey skies. Toronto , Calgary and others major cities across Canada haven’t been as lucky. The air quality in Toronto was some of the worst across the globe.
I hope we get some rain soon and douse the wildires that are spreading.
I can’t deny I have enjoyed the incredible weather. this summer. I have soaked up all the sunshine I have receved. I’ll continue to smile. maybe it’s time to do a rain dance in the smoky mists…