BC is a really big place. The province takes a long day to drive across, and has a few mountain ranges along the way. In the middle of the province, running quite a way north and south, there are currently many, many forest fires burning. It is scary, and frustrating when it is human-caused, and a reminder of nature’s power.
I live on a big island off the coast of BC. We consider the mainland to be “over there” and the interior of the province is like another world to us. (As an aside that will be understood by Canadians or anyone who has driven across Canada, someone from Manitoba once told me they were a westerner. Showed me how big this country was, I who thought anything past Kelowna was ‘the east’.) Back to our island. My section of the island, the central area, is across the water from a crazy mess of mainland mountains. There are no roads to the lower mainland from that area, it is simply forbidding rock and valley and wilderness.
Last night we noticed that the sun was very red, and the mountains here on the island were looking a little hazy out our window. Today we were inundated with the oddest haze. By late afternoon we realized this was no heat haze. This is smoke.
You’d think the fire was down the road, or in the nearby mountain forests. It is not. This smoke is from the accumulation of the 400 fires burning around the province, blowing across the coastal mountains, across the Strait of Georgia, and onto our island.
It tastes like smoke, feels in your eyes like smoke. It is hard to believe this is coming from hundreds of miles away. We may stay indoors more tomorrow as this is supposed to continue. It makes the day (which would other wise be another sunny summer day) hotter and muggier and more uncomfortable. As Bush Boy said, “This is a true greenhouse effect.” It makes you worry about the intense dryness that is our island right now.
That little bright dot is the sun at 7 pm. What you can’t see in this picture, because the exposure is all wrong, is the eerie redness of the ball of sun. You also can’t feel the strange, intense heat it carries.
I can only imagine what it must be like to be closer to the fire zones, or to be fighting those fires. The smoke is supposed to lift on the island after tomorrow, as our weather systems change up. But that doesn’t mean the fires go away. Let’s hope for a safe conclusion to this fire season.