Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire.

And so it’s back to looking at fire maps again. The BC Wildfire Service puts out one like this. I am just about where the “a” of Cariboo is.

But I prefer to use FIRMS, which covers all of North America. I can’t give a link for that because if you click on it you will get only the day of the link. Google FIRMS fire maps, check on the US and Canada box, and this is what you’ll get. This one taken on July 10.

Looks pretty frightening, but just north of Vancouver is a little green patch. I am just about where the curser is. Also July 10.

So no fires too close, but varying degrees of smoke. It was smoky when I went to the Kleena Kleene watterfall.

This area was burned in 2017. The new forest is growing up well.

I had not been down there for some years and the road had deteriorated considerably. It was just after the long weekend and there were lots of ATV tracks. But the riders must have had much bigger and more powerful machines – with power steering – as I found these hazards very difficult. I couldn’t look at the scenery as I had to spend every moment staring at the road.

We arrived at the lookout. Despite the bad road, Pepita prefers to ride. She crashed into me constantly as I lurched about.

Like at Perkins Peak, there were very few flowers. Dogbane is one that seems to be enjoying this poor season

And there were a few clumps of fireweed.

At the waterfall there was a surprise. The water used to run on the far side of the rock, where the sandy beach is now.

The new course is close to the near bank.

A few days later I went to a barbecue. A fresh breeze had cleared the smoke quite a bit, but in the evening, near home, I was confronted with this.

I determined, from FIRMS, that the fire was at the north end of Lonesome Lake and it had spent the last few hours roaring up the steep side of the valley. The Lonesome Lake fire is # 1456 to the left of Charlotte Lake. The curser is approximately at my property. The small red square on the far left is right across the valley from my friends’ place.

In the morning the wind had dropped and the smoke had settled thickly.

The Bella Coola Music Festival was over the weekend. Some friends were playing and I had planned to go on the Sunday. But on Saturday night, friends sent me these pictures from the Bella Coola Facebook page of a fire part way down the Bella Coola Hill.

I immediately consulted FIRMS.

Windfinder predicted strong west winds and I felt sure the highway would be closed by the end of the day. I did not want to get stuck down there so I bailed out. Sure enough, the highway was closed around 4 in the afternoon and this is what FIRMS looks like now. The fire to the south is the Lonesome Lake fire and it has also moved considerably.

So instead of enjoying the valley and friends and music, I processed kale for drying. A few days ago I noticed some holes in the leaves even though it was so early in the season. Time to cover the crop. Which I did, but it was like bolting the door after the horse has gone. The leaves are riddled with the little green caterpillars I get every year. Don’t know what they are – too small for cabbage whites. I put a bunch of cocoons in a jar with netting over the top and hope they hatch so I can identify them.

I really don’t like summer. Too hot, too buggy, too smoky, and there is always the threat of fire. In two days the wind is supposed to drop and come from the north again. Great news for those fighting the out of control fires, but north winds always bring thunderstorms at this time of year. The worst time for fires is always late July and early August, so we have a long way to go yet. I very much expect there will be more strikes.

3 thoughts on “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire.”

  1. Chris, thanks for your informative report and insight on the fire situation. As a recreational cabin owner on Clearwater Lake your blogs provides us with excellent news coverage of the area, and as always your photos are terrific. I hope you only have to deal with smoke this year, regards, anna

  2. Chris…. Thank you for your posts….. it’s like looking into your life for those of us admiring your lifestyle.

    Our ridge tops are dry and crunchy but it’s still green in the timber. Like you we worry about fire until the second week of September when nights are longer and days are cooler. Hard to sleep at night when smoke is in the air.

    The wildflower pics are lovely…. am very sorry about the fire at Lonesome Lake….. did your old cabin near the Edwards place burn ? Seems like that place was ravaged by fire several years ago.

    Hope one day we can return to see the Chilcotin… we have precious memories of our trip in 2012.

    Stay safe….. Bonnie

  3. I was about to comment that Lonesome Lake can’t catch a break, but I see from your other post that the big fire that roared through there was almost 20 years ago. Sheesh.

    Thank you for sharing these stories and pictures. Beautiful country you live in.

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