Monday, August 3, 2009

Earth, Wind and Fire

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.

23 comments:

John said...

Omigosh that photo looks so scary. I for one did not realize B.C. had a desert...and that means dry dry dry.

I have a friend I have lost touch with, but she lives in Kelowna. I hope she and her family is safe. Well, I hope everyone in B.C. stays safe.

Is the smoke blowing in to Vancouver? That will be awful too. It seems all the news outlets are busy covering politics, etc., since I had not heard about the fires . B.C. needs rain and lots of it...I hope you get some soon, especially in Lillooet.

Firefly said...

In the summer we have the same problems in the Western Cape where the fires burn in the fynbos and plantations. Just about every year the same kind of thing plays itself off on Table Mountain and around Cape Town.

Owen said...

Hadn't seen this on the "news" here in France... I hope they are of natural origin, there have been far too many cases of arson behind many of the fire here in Europe. Right now one of the Canary Islands (La Palma) is burning, but I haven't seen whether it was criminal in origin or not. I think arsonists should get the combined total of all the punishments discussed in the comments below about the kids left in the car...

I didn't realize there was desert land in BC ?!? Something akin to the high desert of eastern Washington state ? When I went to BC a long long time ago, all I remember are gorgeous mountains and endless forests....

the walking man said...

Believe for rain.

Alissa said...

That does look scary. Too bad we couldn't send some of the very damp summer we are having here in NJ up to British Columbia.

Russell said...

Nature is a power force, isn't it? When I think of British Columbia, I think of forests, mountains and water. I confess, I don't associate the desert with B.C. but I have learned that is part of your world, too.

As with any living force, a balance must be obtained. In my world, fire is used to clear the prairie. Years ago vast prairie fires took many lives when they raced out of control across the land.

Is there a correlation between this post and your last one -- about the firey redheads?!? I have a feeling you have some fire in you, too...!

The Bug said...

Very scary! Keep us posted on the outcome, will you?

I woke up to a thunderstorm - very loud & alarming! Pouring rain on my way to work (35 miles). Umbrella being recalcitrant. Sigh. Hope the rest of the day is better!

pranksygang said...

fingers crossed! i hope God shows some mercy!

Patty said...

How horrible, hope they are able to get it under control soon. Wish there was some way to send the rain me had this morning up your way.

Leslie: said...

This situation is bad enough, but I heard on the news yesterday that there were 3 (I think) fires in Stanley Park that were arson! Thank goodness the heat wave seems to have abated a bit now.

Book pusher said...

How terrifying, I hope everyone is okay, the fire season is terrifying. Here too, (Australia) fires are a rejuvinating part of our eco system, but of recent years we have been experiencing fires with increasing frequency and greater ferocity. I wish everyone dealing with fires at the moment all the best.

Land of shimp said...

Has it been an unusually dry summer? I hope that the fires are soon contained, and that, if nothing else, no one is injured.

We're having a remarkably wet summer, and so, thankfully, we haven't had a fire problem here in Colorado this year.

I did know that there is a desert in B.C. but the reason I know is rather funny -- I watch a decent amount of Scifi, and the show Stargate and Battlestar Galactica both were shot in Vancouver. Stargate in particular took advantage of the diverse areas available in B.C.

Anyway, good thoughts to the people of B.C.

TC said...

Hope there is rain and the fires get contained soon. I didn't know there was anything like a desert in BC, I picture trees or lush grasslands with lots of rain and cold?
I hadn't heard anything about the fires but I haven't watched news, just looked @ cnn on puter.

PhilipH said...

It's almost like "The Day (Year) the Earth Caught Fire". Spain has had some awful forest fires to name but one place.

Can't imagine what it must be like for all those poor souls who have to watch these terrifying fires spread closer and closer to their homes.

ivan said...

Walking Man,

Mark,
you might be psychic. Teeny drop of rain just fell on Lilooet, B.C.

robert said...

Remember 2007 when we had everyday ash upon the balcony and even during the morning, when I went swimming, had to leave some distance behind, to get out of the ash.
Hope everyone is safe and that the missing element:water appears soon.

Avril Fleur said...

My husband and I were in Kelowna a few years back in the summer of '05, just after some major forest fires in that area. All around us we could see the ravages of the fires in burnt trees and vegetation. It was sad. And smelly. The smell of smoke everywhere. It was very powerful.

leilani said...

oh JO! that photo is amazing. my thoughts go out to All those who are displaced right now because of these fires!

Amy said...

Jo, I haven't even heard until now - sometimes I wonder about our media....At any rate, I pray for everyone in or near Lillooet. Fire is my worst fear here in Shasta County, CA, so I understand how scary this is.

Nancy said...

Oh Jo, I hope they get it under control soon. My husband and daughter were diverted on their way here from Portland from a fire in California. The only drawback to summer is fires! My prayers are with Lillooet.

Mariana Soffer said...

Bushfires are natural phenomena most common in Australia but also occur in many places around the world where there is plenty of wood, leaves or forest that can burn.

How do bushfires occur?
For a bushfire to start there needs to be fuel, in the form of leaves and/or wood and a ignition flame point.
This ignition can be caused either naturally by a lightening strike, spontaneous combustion or a deliberate/accidental flame

How do bushfires occur?
For a bushfire to start there needs to be fuel, in the form of leaves and/or wood and a ignition flame point.
This ignition can be caused either naturally by a lightening strike, spontaneous combustion or a deliberate/accidental flame

Tips for protecting your House
1. people should avoid living in or too close to the bush
2. avoid planting tall eucalypts near their houses
3. reduce fuel load - get rid of leaves, fallen bark, dry wood around houses
4. plant deciduous trees around the house rather than native trees
5. ensure gutterings are clear of dry vegetation.

Hope this is usefull jo

Pouty Lips said...

I hadn't heard. Why is it not on my news?

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