Tuesday, July 7, 2015



For the past three days, Vancouver has been shrouded in forest fire smoke from a huge fire north of Whistler near Pemberton. We haven't had an appreciable rain in Vancouver since April 20; everything is tinder dry, small fires have erupted on the North Shore, Stanley Park and Burnaby Mountain, many of these due to cigarettes and sparks; most of the bigger ones in the rural/remote areas are due to lightning strikes. But the fact remains that it is only the beginning of July, our reservoirs are as low as they normally would be at the end of August, and trees are already dropping leaves due to heat stress. June is normally a wet month.

We had to be careful when camping last week: 35C pretty much every day, fire bans, no open flames; there are already water restrictions in the city and Parks and Rec Dept is encouraging homeowners to water the stressed out young trees near their properties to prevent them from dying.

Sunday was the worst day - as we returned to the city from camping, it was muggy, smokey, and smelled like woodfire in the air which permeated everything. By Monday things were already better but the air advisory is still in effect today. Though it was cool and 'overcast' riding to work this morning, the particulates are gone and no smell of smoke.

I've been exposed to forest fire smoke living on the Prairies for years but this seems a novelty to the West Coasters, and of course they love to marvel in things that they assume are unique and special about them but the updates and news reports were a bit overboard. The air quality and particulate counts were pretty shitty on Sunday though.

I do fear that this summer is going to be CATASTROPHIC for forest fires in British Columbia and the entire western side of North America. As you would expect, I was scheming ways to avoid the smoky, ashy air...and the full-head gas masks immediately came to mind. If there's an opportunity to spin some positivity from a bad situation.....

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