After the rain, the air was clear, and for the first time in weeks I could see the mountains. We even had a bit of a sunset. The following morning (yesterday) the wind started early and soon a fire was rolling merrily up the side of Mt Nogwon.Before I show the next pictures, it will be helpful to look at a map.The Kleena Kleene fire in the north and the Colwell Lake fire have pretty much joined. (The pink is the Evacuation Order area.)
Here is the Google Earth map of four days ago after the last furious windstorm. Mount Nogwon is the small green triangle just above the words: Big Stick Lake.I hiked up the north dunes to look at the fire. It is so long since I have been up that high – there has been nothing to see for weeks – and the view was glorious, even if it was a bit smoky.
This first picture (somewhat boring!) is of the southern part of the fire, where it advanced so dramatically in the big windstorm (see above). It is not doing a lot as this day’s wind is blowing the fire back onto itself and making a natural back-burn.A little further round are a few new puffers – the fire dragon has found a couple of tasty undigested morsels to play with.When the zoom is reduced, they look quite tiny behind Internet Hill (the tower is to the right of the big fir tree on the mound in the middle distance.) You can also see highway 20 on the right.Slightly further round is Perkins Peak. Colwell Lake, where the south fire started, is in a steep valley to the right of this mountain.Hidden Valley is between Finger Peak and the lake across the road. Despite horrible advances during the wind storm, it never crossed the final ridge behind the lake, and the trees there are still green.While I was up on the dunes, the wind was strengthening, and the two branches of the Big Stick Lake fire were beginning to obscure Nogwon.
Already there were a lot of helicopters working – I could hear their rattle distantly on the wind – and soon reinforcements arrived. Here is one of the double-rotor choppers towing its bucket.
And he finally disappeared into the smoke. I have to say again that I have nothing but total admiration for these pilots who fly into smoke and erratic gusty winds (some were up to 60 km per hour that day) and do a wonderful job and 99.9% of the time stay safe. They are absolute miracle workers.In the last post (The Meeting) I complained about bureaucracy. But on the ground all the fire personnel have been wonderful. People come most days to check on the sprinklers and myself; knowing that I am under house arrest because I refuse to leave my home they have said that if I need anything they would bring it. Today I received an email that someone was coming and I asked if he could possibly drop by the Nimpo store and pick up a couple of items for me. He was here within the hour. But not only that, knowing that I have run out of one of my special foods, miso, which the store does not stock, he contacted a colleague who was coming up from Bella Coola asking her to bring some to his staging place at the Anahim Lake school. And he presented me with the miso this morning.
So, you bureaucrats: you might be trying to starve me out, but the workers on the ground are looking after me!
Don’t forget to check into the radio stations where I will be speaking by phone tomorrow morning. (See previous post for details.)