Hi, folks, I am on location in British Columbia reporting from our blog’s “West Coast bureau”, where I have been attempting to be on vacation for the past number of days. As you may have heard, this whole province is on fire! We have been getting no end of smoke here in the Okanagan region, including just this morning when you walked out the front door and couldn’t see the mountains again because of the haze, and couldn’t breathe because of the smoke in the air. This whole place is stinking hot and smells like firewood.
The blazes are mainly happening elsewhere in the province, but even this region hasn’t escaped it; a fire broke out on Knox Mountain in Kelowna a few days ago that was quickly doused, which is believed to be arson.
The reports are that this is the worst wildfire situation in BC in almost 60 years. I believe it. And the bad news is the state of emergency here has been extended. I hope things improve soon in the province, because it is hard to breathe here in this situation.
The big story on the west coast, and frankly throughout much of Canada, is the rapidly escalating forest fire situation across British Columbia. The number of fires has escalated and more places are seeing evacuation orders, including 100 Mile House. Williams Lake is particularly a hard-hit area. In total, 14,000 residents have been forced to flee, with reports of 220 fires. I understand the western U.S. States are also getting hit hard by fires at the moment.
Of course, my family is in Kelowna, BC, and while they aren’t living in the impacted areas of these particular blazes, nevertheless there was a big fire that levelled a condo build there on the weekend. Yikes!
Here are some of the Tweets that I re-Tweeted about the situation over the last few days:
All in all, this is not a good situation. What is worse is that I’m meant to be in BC next month for what is supposed to be a vacation.
Hopefully, that is still what it will be: a vacation, and not yet another news story that I will be in the middle of.
Maybe it’s the movies’ fault, but there is a part of me that is definitely a wanna-be Californian. The sun! The surf! The beaches!
But it’s the other stuff about the place that turns me right off. The smog. The crime. The earthquakes. And of course, the wildfires. Lots and lots of wildfires. The latest ones that are raging include the Blue Cut fire bearing down on San Bernardino County, where 82,000 are being evacuated. Among the fire’s targets was the historic Summit Inn right on Route 66, which has burned to the ground.
I am following the live streams of the fires in progress as well as other live updates. What a sad situation, and a good reminder to not move to southern California — even with the NFL now back in LA.
Tonight, my thoughts are about Fort McMurray and the wildfire situation there.
I am currently listening to the feeds from Alberta radio stations about the whole situation and about the evacuation of the entire city that happened today. It sounds like there is a lot of damage there. At the very least, there are neighbourhoods destroyed.
The people escaping the scene were describing it as apocalyptic. And these fires are still not under control. It could get worse tomorrow, if you can believe it. This is a city that was basically the boom town of Canada for the last number of years, the hub of the oil boom.
Last year, I spent a good chunk of the summer reporting the local angle on the provincial wildfires here in Saskatchewan, as my community was an evacuation centre and the local fire departments were sending some help north. As you know, La Ronge was under a direct threat, and the Saskatchewan evacuation ended up being the largest in this province’s history. But that situation developed over days.This whole situation in Fort McMurray flared up in just a matter of hours. And just like that, it’s the largest evacuation in Alberta history.
I’m still trying to put my thoughts together about this. There was also some other major news tonight out of Indiana, but tonight I don’t feel like talking about Donald Trump. I have all summer to talk about him.