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Wilderness Adventures - August, Week 1/2009

This 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 the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like 'Lake Monsters' about the Lakesounds just 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.

07/08/2009 7:50 PM

Fire Updates August 7

Unfortunately 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 were there.
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 fires.
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:

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. 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.

The number to reach for more information is listed in the media update below.
Have a good weekend, everyone.

06/08/2009 8:27 PM

Fire Update August 6

Today's 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 area.

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 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 yesterday.
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.
Okay. 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.

05/08/2009 7:09 PM

Chilcotin Forest Fire Status August 5

Between 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 are new.
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 any size.
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.

04/08/2009 10:29 AM

Forest Fire Situation in the Chilcotin

One 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 own.
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 British Columbia.
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 .

02/08/2009 9:53 PM

Highway 20 Closed Due to Forest Fires

Well, 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.

01/08/2009 10:14 PM

The Smoke Pall

Just 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 and wind.
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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Dirty black smoke plume rises  above a cabin.
Smoke plume at Alexis Creek.
Fire behind Alexis Creek Hotel.
Forest fire in Alexis Creek on Highway 20.
Smoke plume above a cabin on the lake.
Multiple smoke plumes from Heckman Pass fire.
Smoke from Heckman Pass fire.
Smoke plume to the north of Nimpo Lakeis a dirty black.
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