Overnight, since I last posted, there were new hotspots in the Big Stick Lake fire, but hopefully they would be far enough away not to be a danger to me on today’s trip home.
Drive BC indicated that Highway 20 was still open, so I didn’t have to leave at an insane hour, but in fact I woke up at 12.30 and was wide awake so I thought I might as well just go (after a good breakfast!). Which meant that It was still barely light when I arrived at my place so I couldn’t take photos on the way in except this one of three tiny flames, about 1 km from my place.
I untied the tarp from the porch and ducked inside to get a few things together. Soon it was light enough to see the hoses.
These fed sprinklers raised high on roofs and other prominent point.
The hoses stretched down to the pond.
Where they had swapped my pump for a much more powerful one. Thank you beavers for keeping that pond full of water.
I had thought I might try and water the garden but it was wonderfully wet – and thriving. It was close enough to the house to get well watered. Just as well, for my own hoses had been incorporated into the system. I wonder if I’ll get them back!
The sun rose.
The smoke wasn’t as bad as it might have been, it had smelled worse on the way in through the burned areas.
Time to leave while it was still calm. It was around 7.30:AM
This was where I’d seen the flames on the way in.
The fireguard has been put right at the edge of the fire.
Along comes a monster cat. Away from the sprinklers the ground is dustbowl dry. Because there has been a lot of traffic on the road, it is now covered in several centimetres of soft floury silt. A lot of the haze in this picture is dust.
This is the guard looking towards the river. Some of the trees have greenish tops but when the trunks are burned at the bottom, they will die.
Fire guards aren’t miracles. After all, the fire jumped both the river and the highway, and several places along the road coming into my place. Fierce fires jump guards often. But the fire protection crew are certainly going all out, what with the sprinklers and the guard. Thank you, thank you.
Some of the last 3 km to the highway had been severely burned.
I met a crew of workers coming in. The lead guy looked suspiciously at me for of course I should not have gone off the Highway in an evacuation order area. But I said I was a home owner just picking up stuff, and raved about what a good job everyone was doing and he beamed. “We are doing our very best,” he said. They sure are.
As in 2017, as soon as our post office was put under evacuation order, it was closed. Our mail can be picked up 3 and half hours’ drive east in Williams Lake. But our post office manager is very helpful and she told me she had put mail in my box before the order came down, so I drove the extra ten minutes east out of the fire zone to pick it up. A bladder has been set up in front. Should it be needed, water trucks will fill the bladder while it is pumping.
Now I headed back towards the Bella Coola Valley, through the area that was shown on the video on the previous post. The views are strange as much of the topography was hidden before.
Remember this shot taken the evening I left home? How I was fascinated by the smoke light on the river?
This is what it looks like now.
And finally into the clear area known as Caribou Flats west of the fire. A slab of smoke lies across the land. How green it looks
Some people seem to think that my fire is over, but there is a long way to go yet. Forecast is for a cooler week with some rain and, unfortunately, thunder, but also strong SW winds starting Tuesday. Lets hope the rain comes to something, for after the weekend, the temperature will climb again. Usually the most dangerous time for forest fires is late July / early August. In 2017 the last big fire event, and the most frightening for me, was on August 18th.
I am extremely lucky to have such a good place to stay while all this is going on. The Bella Coola Valley has certainly had its share of fires but so far they have held off this year. I have my own cabin, good friends, and a raspberry crop in its prime. There will be blueberry picking next week! (But freezer space is limited.)
Watch this space for updates.