is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - August, Week 1/2009
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
Fire Updates August 7
it isn't that easy to give a visual update when you can't
see anything. The smoke was pretty thick this morning,
nearly obliterating the island, the opposite of what our
mornings are usually like. There's been fairly heavy
smoke all day even though a breeze has kicked up off and
on throughout the day. This afternoon when I started
home from Nimpo I could see some pretty dark grey smoke
and some brown in the sky in front of me. By this evening
it had blanketed the western and northern sky and was
pushing a lot of smoke to the east, so I suspect a lot
of it was coming from the Illgatchuz fire rather than
Heckman Pass. It certainly doesn't matter if there's a
campfire ban on, we get to smell campfire smoke all the
time without the flame.:-)
The Incident Commander did suggest that we would probably
see the Illgatchuz fire kicking up between three and five
in the afternoon for the next couple of days at least,
and he's certainly right. Visibility for helicopters
trying to bucket any of the fires today must have been
terrible, and I certainly wouldn't envy them their job.
I know it started getting pretty dangerous on the 2004
Lonesome Lake fire with up to 22 helicopters bucketing
in thick smoke, and a couple of them damned near ran into
each other. They had to set up some pretty strict protocols
for when visibility was really poor after that. Which
is also the reason why private aircraft is not permitted
in a fire zone below a certain altitude because helicopters,
bird dogs and air tankers would not be aware that they
Other than that, I haven't heard that there are any changes
out here regarding the fires. I think that everything
is pretty stable. Wind may have caused a bit of
a problem on some fires, but from the sounds of it, that
probably affected areas east of here such as around Alexis
Creek rather than here.
Here are the sizes of the fires as promised on yesterday's
blog. Those sizes are from August 6 as we don't have a
new map for today.
Heckman Pass fire is 1439 hectares or a little over 3555
acres with four more fires under a hectare to the east.
Junker Lake fire is 1167 hectares, or 2884 acres.
Knot Lake fire is 392 hectares, or 969 acres.
Ilgatchuz Fire is 535 hectares, or 1322 acres with one
more small fire to the south.
Itcha Fire is 1472 hectares or 3635 acres with two more
small fires nearby.
Jorgensen Creek Fire is 123 hectares or 204 acres with
two more small fires in that same direction.
There are three or four more small fires scattered throughout
the area, most listed as being under one hectare in size.
That means that there are 18 or more active fires
in our area giving a total of 5128 hectares or over 12,500
acres burned on active fires. That doesn't include
the numerous fires that were on my map that are now out,
although many of those may have been less than a hectare,
I know of more than one that was much bigger.
The one fire on the Forestry website that has been updated
in size to larger than what is shown on the fire map is
the Illgatchuz Fire, listed at 700 hectares, 165 hectares
more than was listed on the map, but at this point in
time, until confirmed by anything but that website,
I'll leave the numbers as they are. At least they
are finally getting that website updated on some of the
I didn't include any of the Bella Coola Valley fires,
Kluskus fire, or any of the fires east of us from Tatla
Lake on in those figures, even though all of them border
our region. But the only way they can potentially threaten
us is with highway closures or smoke.
Thanks again from all of us to the IC for that information.
The Bella Coola Media Update follows:
COOLA VALLEY - A local state of emergency continues in
Travellers considering the area as a tourist destination
are being strongly advised to change their plans at least
temporarily as the region deals with forest fire activity.
Please note: Residents and visitors in the Hagensborg
Water District are reminded of the boil water advisory
in effect in that district. Fire activity has reduced
vegetation in the area, potentially increasing the levels
of organic materials in the watershed.
ROAD ACCESS · Hwy 20 at Heckman Pass remains closed in
both directions 60 km east of Bella Coola to 16 km west
of Anahim Lake because of Forest Fire. A daily, potential
one- time piloted opening at 8:00 am is subject to fire
assessment. Vehicles must be on site prior to 8:00 am
opening. Tourism traffic is discouraged.
Hwy 20 remains closed in both directions 11 km east of
Bella Coola to allow firefighting crews and equipment
free movement without endangering any public. Pilot vehicle-lead
openings are occurring at 30 minute intervals to allow
traffic in and out of Bella Coola townsite day and night.
FIRE CONDITIONS · The Nuxalk Mountain Fire continues to
burn on the east and west flanks and crews have the 276
hectare fire 20 per cent contained.
The Saloompt Mountain Fire has been stated as 141 hectares
and is 10 per cent contained with a 24-man crew on site.
This fire has the potential to impact a neighbourhood
of 50 homes located across the Bailey Bridge on the north
side of the Bella Coola River.
Two fires near the small community of Stuie in Tweedsmuir
Park threaten to impact a critical telecommunications
microwave station that provides telephone and Internet
service to the entire 78 km long valley. A specialized
structural protection unit is on site preparing to defend
the facility in the event that the fire, burning on a
rocky mountain slope 500m above the station, drops down
from the hillside. Another 20 man crew is mobilizing to
build fire guards near the highway in preparation to extinguish
the blaze once it does fall. There are currently over
120 specialized ground crew members, 8 helicopters and
several local pieces of heavy equipment deployed in the
region. As well, local fallers have been employed to assist
with the fire fighting operations.
number to reach for more information is listed in the
media update below.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
Fire Update August 6
update on the fire situation in the Anahim Lake and Nimpo
Lake region as well as Bella Coola.
Locally, we were very fortunate to get a cool down yesterday
when clouds rolled in for most of the day. Temperatures
dropped to only three degrees above freezing last night,
although people located away from the lake reported that
it did hit freezing. That has to help the fire fighting
effort tremendously. We often start seeing frosts
in early August and a major shift in the weather even
if there has been a heat wave. We did get up to nearly
25C or 77F with clear blue skies and for a change, the
smoke wasn't too bad. It didn't start rolling in until
this evening when temperatures started to cool and the
smoke dropped. For once our sun is the color it should
be this time of night instead of that grisly orange it
has been many times this past week. That was generally
due to the Heckman Pass fire, although the fire in the
Illgatchuz Range is contributing its share tonight.
You know, sometimes you just have to wonder where all
that smoke goes. I scanned every horizon today and could
see no smoke column at all. But late this afternoon
the Illgatchuz fire started kicking up a fuss again with
a great dirty column of smoke and flames visible at the
base, yet there was no sign of smoke earlier.
But at least for the most part our air was pretty good
today and you could actually see the mountains. They're
obscured now, of course, and you can smell smoke out there,
but at least we caught a great break today.
Some resorts are reporting visitor cancellations. That's
really too bad because we're certainly not in a serious
situation at this point in time. Other than a little smoke,
the fishing is still great and most of the backcountry
is still quite safe. Kind of a contrast to Bella
Coola where the Emergency Program Coordinator is discouraging
tourists from visiting at this time. Although
the evacuation order and alert status is being reviewed,
and there will be changes made by the end of today because
there is a community meeting set for tonight down there.
I've just received another media update from there so
I'll just go ahead and print it here. After you get through
the information update below, I want to comment on the
community meeting in Nimpo Lake tonight where the Incident
Commander arrived to give an update on the fires in the
ACCESS · Hwy 20 at Heckman Pass remains closed in both
directions 60 km east of Bella Coola to 16 km west of
Anahim Lake because of Forest Fire. A daily, potential
one- time piloted opening at 8:00 am is subject to fire
assessment. Vehicles must be on site prior to 8:00 am
opening. Tourism traffic is discouraged. · Hwy 20 remains
closed in both directions 11 km east of Bella Coola to
allow firefighting crews and equipment free movement without
endangering any public. Pilot vehicle-lead openings are
occurring at 30 minute intervals to allow traffic in and
out of Bella Coola townsite day and night.
FIRE CONDITIONS · Fire response activities are intensive
today, with three new 20-man crews bringing the total
personnel count 120, which includes specialized attack
crews, structural protection crews, and a five-man crew
that specializes in night activities.
There are still serious threats in the area. With three
active fire fronts, changing and increasing winds today,
and precipitation estimates being pushed back.
In the air, the lower valley is busy with eight helicopters
circling overhead including a heavy lift Sikorski capable
of carrying large volumes of water. Aerial operations
were supervised by a lead chopper with all but one medi-vac
unit dropping water buckets on the fires.
The evacuation of 61 homes continues for the 4th day in
the area of the Nuxalk Mountain fire. Another 20 homes
remain on alert. Fire crews made good progress in completing
a fire guard and some resources were able to shift over
to the Saloompt fire in the afternoon.
The Saloompt Mountain fire has been stated as 100 hectares
and sits around the 2500' level above 2 residences. Equipment
completed a fire guard at Croft Creek while retardant
was used to establish another on the opposite side. Access
for equipment and ground crews was completed and 1 residence
has structural protection sprinklers installed and working.
The new fire at 'Big rock' in Tweedsmuir Park was extinguished
by a small crew mid-day yesterday. The Stuie fires, high
above the Tiny Park community continue to burn and air
tankers made two strikes on the blazes during the day
The Bella Coola EOC will remain open for information between
the hours of 8 am - 8 pm daily until further notice. The
contact number is: (250) 982-2691.
On to the meeting tonight.
I'm impressed! The Incident Commander that
attended is in charge of operations out here in the West
Chilcotin. He was honest and forthright with the information
we had asked for, including providing maps showing where
fires are still presently burning in the area. He also
provided a map showing the boundaries of the Heckman Pass
fire, and let us know how he and his crews were going
to go about fighting it. Wow! What a breath of fresh
air!! Did I mention he is from Saskatchewan? He's
here with his Saskatchewan crew and has also been looking
after the Bella Coola fires. As of now, however, he has
released that region to crews and an Incident Commander
coming out from Alberta who have brought their own equipment
and special teams with them, and who will be concentrating
on the fires in the Valley. I don't have time right now
but tomorrow I'll give an update on fire sizes based on
the IC's information. None of the fires pose a
danger to any of our communities at this point in time,
and aren't likely to in the future, especially with these
guys on it.
I have had so many people call and email me from all over
western Canada and the US that have appreciated having
some detailed information on the blog because they just
can't find it elsewhere. For folks with homes here that
can't get back to them, accurate information is what they
need and want. And it's really refreshing to meet someone
willing to let us know what's going on.
We are expected to have one more day that could be a hot
one tomorrow, and then after that, we should see a real
cool down with rain predicted for the Cariboo on Monday.
Hopefully that includes us.
Chilcotin Forest Fire Status August 5
smoke and some cloud it's been difficult to spot any
fires. Yesterday evening was very smoky and since we
couldn't even see the mountains, we definitely couldn't
see any smoke columns from fires. The air wasn't too
bad this morning but we had heavy cloud cover on all
horizons along with some smoke, so the same problem
existed. You just can't see anything and I expect it's
the same for the lookouts and resources in the air.
Smokes and/or large fires east of us were called in
today and the person that spotted it, whether on the
ground or in the air, always sounded a bit surprised,
as though they were right on a fire or smoke before
seeing it. Many had been reported previously but I think
that there are so many fires out there that no one knows
which have been burning for some time already and which
Kappan lookout reported four back to back fires
this morning, all up in the Itcha Illgatchuz
Range, two of them quite close to the Itcha fire. They
may be spots from that fire. Only one of the four was
Several smoke reports came in from much farther east
of us around Alexis Creek, Gaspard Creek, and east.
I don't know if that's from lightning activity in the
area or not. I thought I heard a bit of thunder this
morning but we really didn't have the temperatures or
cloud type for a thunderstorm. Although Andy did say
it had rained hard around Tatla Lake sometime before
he went through early this morning. So perhaps there
was a storm.
We got up to 20C or 68F maximum today. We didn't
see a huge amount of sun so it never really warmed up,
especially after dropping to 9C or 48F last night.
The weather forecasters said tonight that it will be
warm in Bella Coola (30C) and the Cariboo tomorrow with
sunshine. But we should be back into a real cooling
trend and a possibility of rain by the end of the week.
There's a mean looking low pressure system swinging
in from the Pacific that might get us if it stays on
course. A little rain would be appreciated by both us
and the fire fighters. I expect it's about the only
thing that's going to put a lid on the fires in this
country, not that the fire fighters and air support
aren't doing an awesome job trying to do just that.
Oh, and the Forestry lookouts. Thanks again to Donna
Barnett for her help on that.
There is a meeting tomorrow night at seven at
the Nimpo Lake Community Hall. Andy wanted to
call for an AGM anyway but he has also invited a Forestry
spokesperson to come to the meeting to tell us what
the fire situation is. We pretty much already know everything
he would be willing to tell us, but we'll see how much
he waffles. There isn't that much to explain because
most of us know we are not in any danger from forest
fires at this point in time. However, there are some
people in the communities that need an 'Official' to
tell them that. The Rep is supposed to be supplying
maps showing the surrounding fires to businesses in
the two communities so that locals and visitors can
get some reassurance. Curiosity is killing me
because I have to wonder how many fires will be missing
from that map.
Let me guess.... most of them.
Lets see. They'll show the fires in Bella Coola Valley,
the one at Heckman Pass, the one at Corkscrew Basin,
Sugarloaf, Choelquoit Lake, and Alexis Creek, because
it's pretty hard to not see those. Oh,
and Kluskus, because everyone knows about that one too.
I guess we'll see tomorrow night because I'll be taking
my map so we'll see how his fire map compares to mine.
Stephen Waugh, the Emergency Program Coordinator down
in Bella Coola has sent out another media advisory.
I'll just put some of it in here to update folks expecting
to go to Bella Coola.
BELLA COOLA VALLEY - A local state of emergency
continues in Bella Coola. Travellers considering the
area as a tourist destination are being strongly advised
to change their plans at least temporarily as the region
deals with forest fire activity.
ROAD ACCESS · Highway 20 remains closed in both directions
11 km east of Bella Coola to allow firefighting crews
and equipment free movement without endangering any
public. Pilot vehicle - lead openings are occurring
at 30 minute intervals to allow traffic in and out of
Bella Coola townsite day and night. · A Hwy opening
occurred successfully this morning and traffic was routed
through from both directions. The top of "The Hill"
at Heckman pass will remain closed, with potential openings
daily between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. for the
foreseeable future. Anyone wishing to take advantage
of these potential road openings should be at the site
of the roadblock and ready, where they will be informed
if the road will be accessible or not.
FIRE CONDITIONS · Residents of 61 homes continue to
be on evacuation while another 20 remain on evacuation
alert in the area of the Nuxalk Mountain fire. No new
alerts or orders have been issued. The fire is currently
situated between Snootli & Snooka Creeks and no structures
are currently in imminent danger. Fire guards are in
place and holding. The fire has spread around the back
of Nuxalk Mountain away from populated areas. · A fire
on Saloompt Mountain has approximately 3 homes on the
Saloompt forest Road are under evacuation alert. Fire
crews have installed a 'mud-pit' in the area to allow
helicopter drops of fire retardant. Crews will continue
to attack the fire from the air and ground throughout
the day. Fire guards are in place and holding along
the populated south-west front.
An advisory is still in place for anyone considering
traveling to the back country or using trails in the
Bella Coola Valley. The public is strongly advised not
to venture in the backcountry or onto local trails due
to the extreme fire danger.
A significant amount of resources are being applied
to the challenges in the Bella Coola region including
8 helicopters. 6 of these are currently deployed on
the Nuxalk Mountain Fire with 1 of these directing fire
operations. Another is standing by as an available medi-vac
unit with the 8th being deployed as overview command
for all fire-fighting operations.
Ground crew activity levels, while, extensive were not
available at press time.
Okay, there you have it. There's nothing more exciting
to report but just to let you know, there may not be
a blog tomorrow evening if I go to that meeting.
Forest Fire Situation in the Chilcotin
of our mini forest fire smokes blew up into a very large
smoke behind Anahim Lake last night, which is
why there was no blog. We decided to take a drive and
didn't get back until late. This fire was actually just
a little finger of smoke started by a lightning strike
on Friday but never did much until now. In fact, it was
usually obscured by the Itcha Mountain fire. Last night
it succeeded in obliterating the Itcha smoke with its
Directions in this part of the Chilcotin can be very deceiving.
I knew that we were looking at the base of the Illgatchuz
Range while watching the plume of smoke, the question
was where was it in relation to Anahim Lake? In addition
to that, what was the distance? When I first noticed
it, I could see flames at the base of the fire coming
down the hill. You have to assume that either
the fire is not that far away, or really, really big.
We drove out past Anahim Lake up the road that follows
the Dean River north of Anahim. At Clesspocket Ranch you
could see the Heckman Pass fire on our left to the west
and the other smoke to our right. I'm still not sure where
exactly it is from Anahim Lake other than north and east
I guess. Nor could you tell how far away it was because
you get into thickly treed country there and it's a little
lower so you could only see the top of the smoke column,
not the base as you can from Nimpo Lake.
The Heckman Pass fire looks like it has a pretty
wide base now and was throwing a lot of smoke into the
air. It sure made for a wild looking sunset when
we started back for Nimpo. You could see a blood orange
sun in the rear view mirrors.
I spoke to someone in McLean's Trading at Anahim Lake
last night that had been working the Heckman Pass fire
and he said they were not actioning the fire that we had
seen at the base of the Illgatchuz mountains because there
just weren't enough resources to go around. I know that
Cariboo Fire Center has been stretched pretty thin of
late, but they are setting up a base camp at the mill
between Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake. It makes a lot
more sense for firefighters and helicopters to be actioning
fires from out here, rather than Puntzi Lake.
And dispatching from out here would definitely clear some
of the radio traffic for Cariboo Fire Center. They've
been overwhelmed by all the traffic on different fires.
I understand the military is being brought in to Puntzi
Base to take the place of firefighters staging from out
here. I'm not sure what they'll do with the military but
presumably they have training for fighting fires. I'm
not surprised that they would use the military because
resources are getting awfully short with fires throughout
Air quality was pretty poor yesterday morning at Nimpo
Lake. We all commented that we probably only had one day
during the Lonesome Lake fire where air quality was worse.
It's just that this time we have fires all around us so
no matter what direction the wind is coming from, you're
going to get smoke. I don't think it lays in here quite
as badly as at Anahim Lake, though. Maybe because we're
higher or the breeze off the lake keeps the air a little
clearer. But if you talked to folks that made it
up the Bella Coola Hill yesterday morning, they thought
our air was great in comparison!
There was a very short window of opportunity yesterday
between seven and ten in the morning when Forestry permitted
people trapped on both sides of the Heckman Pass closure
to go through with a pilot car. Folks that came this way
were pretty relieved to be out of the Valley. I can just
imagine what it would be like down there. They have several
fires, two of the larger ones are at Saloompt Mountain
and at Nuxalk Mountain. The latter is 7km east of Bella
Coola near highway 20. There is an intermittent highway
closure there. A local state of emergency has been declared
to address the potential for evacuation according to a
media release by the emergency program coordinator. Although
since I received that release I believe some homes around
Stuie may have been evacuated. The Atnarko Campground
in Tweedsmuir Park, located approximately 1 km west of
the bottom of "the Hill" has now been closed and will
remain closed until further notice, and an advisory
has been issued for anyone considering traveling to the
back country or using trails in the Bella Coola Valley.
The public is strongly advised not to venture in the backcountry
or onto local trails due to the extreme fire danger.
The Bella Coola Valley is surrounded on both sides by
steep mountains rearing up above the valley. They've seen
record breaking temperatures there with perfect conditions
for a lightning strike to take off. Unfortunately, those
same mountains hold smoke down in the Valley so it's small
wonder people consider our air to be quite breathable.
According to Drive BC, it now looks like the highway
is open again between here and Williams Lake but they
are still advising a full closure beyond Anahim Lake.
A large fire took off late yesterday afternoon at Kluskus
just over the Itcha Ilgatchuz Range. Apparently they evacuated
a few people from the Reserve there and they diverted
some of our resources to fight that fire. I understand
the urgency since that fire does involve structures.
Even though we're surrounded by fires, it looks like we're
still in a lot better shape here than a lot of places
throughout the province. The Brookmere fire near Merritt
is utterly ferocious, as are the Seton Lake and Lilloett
fires, there's a large fire in the Kootenays and the Terrace
Mountain fire is still terrorizing residents on the west
side of Okanagan Lake with fire, and all of Kelowna with
smoke. I wonder what the province of BC looks like
from a satellite now?
Just a word of note. The Forestry website, that I've left
a link to on this blog a couple of times, is definitely
not keeping the fire situation updated. Most of our fires
aren't listed and the ones that are usually do not have
correct information regarding size.
One bright spot in all of this is that our temperatures
have cooled drastically. Yesterday we hit a max of 25C
or 77F. Today at noon we're only at 17C or 63F. Quite
a difference. I'm sure we're the envy of Okanagan residents.
You will probably have noticed that I have moved the August
blogs off of July now. To read articles about the fires
in the past week and see pictures of them, go to July
Week Two .
Highway 20 Closed Due to Forest Fires
we're all locked in here. We couldn't leave the
Chilcotin right now if we wanted to. The road
to Bella Coola has been closed at the top of the Hill
for the past two days because of the Heckman Pass Fire.
This afternoon the road was closed just east of Tatla
Lake because of a nearby forest fire. It has also been
closed at Alexis Creek because of a massive forest fire
which prompted an evacuation of that town this afternoon.
Four new fires were reported in the time it took me to
drive from home up to Nimpo this afternoon, about five
miles. We didn't have any thunderstorm activity in our
area but there may have been elsewhere. Otherwise, many
of the fires that flared up enough to be spotted today
have to have been lightning caused fires from Friday too
small to spot in the smoke created by the bigger fires.
The Junker Lake Fire, Heckman Pass Fire, and Itcha
fire all blew up today and created a lot of smoke in the
air again. Not only could you smell it, but our
mountains were obscured by smoke. In fact it was hard
to even see across the lake. And our moon is blood orange
tonight. The top picture on the right shows what the Itcha
fire looked like when it blew up with black smoke this
morning before smoke from all the other fires blanketed
it and you could no longer see it. Smoke from the Heckman
Pass fire is on Picture of the Day.
The Heckman Pass Fire has grown to 1059 hectares
or over 2600 acres and apparently burned up a bulldozer
this morning. I really think that fire could end
up being a problem as could the Itcha fire.
An ATV was a casualty of a fire up around Eliguk where
a guy usually drives in as far as he can and then takes
the fourwheeler in the rest of the way. Apparently he
drove up to find his ATV burned up. I wonder too what's
happening at Alexis Creek. I know when it started Cariboo
Fire Center threw everything at it, including pulling
crews and helicopters off of our fires but I suspect it
might have gotten a structure or two. I don't think crews
had time to set up sprinklers to protect houses but I
guess we won't know until someone can get through.
Right now I think that the biggest problem for the fire
centers is that there are so many fires throughout BC,
many of them interface (near structures) that Forestry
is simply running out of resources. I know that we have
fire crews from Ontario and Manitoba out here and elsewhere
in BC and more are on the way. But there are still
only so many helicopters and air tankers available in
the province and they're spread pretty thin right now.
The other problem is the limited amount of time that helicopters
can be in the air. If they start bucketing on fires and
hauling fire crews in onto fires early in the morning,
the optimal time to action a fire, then they've used up
too many hours by late afternoon and evening when the
fires really flare up. Or when a higher priority fire
pops up and you have to divert tankers or helicopters
to a new fire, they're having to leave fewer resources
on the fire they just left. More than one fire has gotten
away on Forestry that way.
Speaking of which.... It looks like the Terrace Mountain
fire in Kelowna has taken off again prompting the evacuation
of people on the west side of the lake again. A fire that
crested a hill and is now raging down toward Lillooet
caused 2300 people to be evacuated from that town this
evening. Gee, we don't seem to be hearing much about the
creeping ground fire at Blackcomb, do we? Small wonder.
The Smoke Pall
a quick update on the forest fire near Anahim Lake. This
should be the start of a new week but since this won't
be a long blog tonight, there was no point.
The fire at Heckman Pass seems to have decided to
take front and center of all the other fires that
have started in the last couple of days. Even though there
were many more smoke reports today after yesterday's thunderstorm.
I went to the airport today to pick up one of the store
owners and was amazed at the view on the drive to Anahim
Lake. No longer crowning into a monster thunderhead at
the top of a smoke column, today the Heckman Pass
smoke flattened out instead and formed a long band of
ugly orange smoke that went for miles. By the
time I got home to Nimpo Lake the sun was only an orange
ball in the middle of black and orange smoke and tonight
the moon is also orange, although not as much so. The
smoke cloud lightened up a bit toward dark.
I was told today that the fire blew up on the firefighters
and air crews yesterday and there wasn't much they could
do with it. It looks like the same may have happened today
when the wind came up, judging from the look of that wicked
cloud. If there's any fire that has the potential to really
cause a problem and a possible evacuation in the future,
it just might be that one.
There are so many fires around us now contributing smoke
to the horizon that you can't even see the mountains anymore
and most of the smoke columns can no longer be defined
through the blanket of white in all directions. I was
able to see the base of the Itcha fire from Two Mile Reserve
and there were a few smokes there. This afternoon I saw
it from our place when the smoke mushroomed into a huge
crown, but then it was obscured again shortly after. One
rancher that I spoke to at the airport was wondering what
the status of the fire was because he wanted to turn his
cattle out into that country. I sent him some
pictures that Logan sent me this evening showing the fire
burned right down to almost nothing. But like many other
fires, I think it too blew up this afternoon in the heat
I was at the store when I met a woman that was trying
to find the resort that had a cabin reserved for her.
Her husband and she were stopped at the road block on
Highway 20 toward Bella Coola and were prevented from
going through because of the Heckman Pass fire. The owner
of the motel in Anahim Lake found accommodation for them
in Nimpo, but these folks couldn't remember the name of
the resort once they got here other than that it was across
from the store. So I called both resorts across from Nimpo's
general store and sure enough, the Dean did accept a reservation
for their cabin, but while the owner was out for a moment,
his staff rented the cabin to a firefighter not knowing
it was already reserved. Most accommodations in
Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake have been taken up by fire
fighters and and there isn't much left so I brought
these folks home with me. Why not? We have a cabin and
a travel trailer. They were really happy that they had
someplace to stay because they were concerned about where
they would sleep if they couldn't find a place. I told
them that in this country you never have to worry about
it. Around here, someone will always find a bed for folks
in need, even if it's on their living room floor.
We didn't get as hot today, mainly because that cloud
of smoke blocked the sun for most of the day and I think
we're slowly cooling down. It got down to 10C or 50F last
night which was downright pleasant for sleeping compared
to elsewhere in the province. Hopefully that trend continues.
To read articles about the fires in the past week and
see pictures of them, go to July
Week Two .
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!