There are currently 700 forest fires burning in British Columbia, and many of them are out of control. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. The town of Lilloett, where this picture is taken, is being attacked on three sides by the fires. When the water bombers fly overhead, the air is so hot, the water evaporates before it hits the ground. There is currently a fire on Blackcomb Mountain which is 50% contained. The Blackcomb fire is on the same mountain that will be host to bobsled and luge events during the 2010 Olympics. Right now, more than 85% of British Columbia is at risk for forest fires, and the province is running out of manpower and personnel to fight the fires. It's a bad situation.
Most of the fires are caused by lightning, and they are an integral part of nature. Fire plays an important role in most forest ecosystems in Canada. For thousands of years, as these ecosystems have evolved, fire has helped to maintain the health and diversity of the forests. It's effect on people, though? Not so good. It has been a h*ll of a summer for most people in BC -- no pun intended.
Folks from other parts of the world don't realize that British Columbia has a desert, complete with sagebrush, cacti, rattlesnakes and tarantulas. And it gets mighty hot -- I know, because I have lived there.
We can only keep our fingers crossed for those people in Lillooet. Unless that fire can be contained, the whole town will be gone.