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 1/2010
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of the Day.
Fire Update for August 06/2010
an update on our weather and fires.
We still don't seem to have any fires of note out here,
although smoke in the air for the last few days would
have made detection difficult. Still, I think we're
in pretty good shape.
We had some haze this morning but then we got a little
rain off and on through the day. Not enough to amount
to much, but between that and a breeze, our air has cleared
right out. It's the first time in a few days that the
mountains have been clear as a bell. We still have heavy
rain clouds over us and the humidity is high with temps
around 23C today, but it's cooling off quickly this evening.
Just to verify the note below, Anahim Lake reserve
has not been evacuated. Anaham Reserve (slightly
different spelling) at Alexis Creek was under evacuation
alert. The RCMP office here was inundated with phone calls
yesterday from worried locals wondering when they were
supposed to evacuate. Unfortunately, the news stations
on TV had the info wrong and created panic in all the
Sadly, many of the media outlets also seem determined
to sensationalize news to the point that they've gone
over the top. Last week a couple in the Meldrum
Creek area were told to evacuate. It is not determined
whether they refused and went out to cut firewood, or
if as I was told, they agreed but stopped to cut firewood
on the way out of the area. I understand he was killed
when a tree fell on him. Naturally, it made it dangerous
for emergency personnel to enter an area with forest fires
because of this death, but the man did NOT die from
fire. However, much of the media has tried to
put a twist on it, presumably with the help of the Cariboo
You see, no matter what, they want people to evacuate
a fire when they tell them to. All of Ministry
of Forests personnel wishes people to obey evacuation
orders and it's of great concern to them and it pisses
them off when people don't. Because.... you don't
have to. If you do not have children or a disabled
person on the property, you do not have to leave and the
police cannot make you leave. Although a fellow in Alexis
Creek was told he would be arrested when he was told to
evacuate a day ago. This threat was also used on
the Charlotte Lake people during the Lonesome Lake fire
and all the residents believed the RCMP's threat.
They were extremely angry when they found out later that
they didn't have to leave and they could have stayed to
protect their homes. (Incidentally, the fires did not
come anywhere near where some people were evacuated and
never would have.
I am not suggesting that people shouldn't leave
an area when there is an evacuation notice. They
probably should because few would be prepared for the
utter devastation that would be rained down on them if
they're caught inside a firestorm. Not to mention death.
If you're not going to evacuate, then it's on the premise
that you understand you may very well die. With that understanding,
then you make a decision, but you cannot be forced to
leave and a lot of people now know that. So they don't
leave an area.
As a result, the Ministry of Forests, and the Cariboo
Fire Center have done nothing but repeat, repeat, repeat
everywhere that evacuation orders need to be obeyed and
will apparently stoop to falsehoods to get the message
We were watching the Vancouver news the other day when
the death of this person at Meldrum came on the news and
of course, as duly instructed, the newscaster on Global
pushed the evacuation thing. But at someone there must
have asked the right questions because at least he said
at the end, "Not that fire actually had anything
to do with this person's death." I thought
at the time, "Geez, kudos for honesty, even if the
newscaster did look a little sheepish as
he kind of tacked it on at the end."
Unfortunately, the Williams Lake Tribune didn't even bother
with that part. The honesty part I mean. I picked up Tuesday's
issue on Wednesday and was shocked to read....
"Fires claim one life as Cariboo burns....
Tens of Thousands of hectares on fire." Whaaaat???
Of course any person is going to immediately think that
fire killed a person, right? To continue, "One
person was killed and another was severely injured in
Meldrum Creek Sunday afternoon.
A couple, who had refused to leave the evacuation area
when the evacuation order was ordered July 28, were involved
in two separate accidents; one resulting in death and
one was severely injured."
It goes on to say the situation was under investigation
by Quesnel RCMP and that the CRD says people need to obey
evacuation orders. Then the article goes on to list the
places under evacuation, etc. That's it. No
more mention of the person killed and certainly no mention
of how they were actually killed. Now I
knew this person had been killed and a rough account of
the circumstances before it showed up in the paper. So
unless another another person was killed, and it certainly
doesn't say anything about that, the media was either
led to, or deliberately decided to, mislead people into
believing someone was killed by fire at
Meldrum Creek because they refused to follow the evacuation
orders and leave the area. (Which as I said above, may
not be true either as I understood they were on their
All to press home that you have to evacuate.
Hmmm. Who's idea do you suppose that was? No matter
who's it was, I don't think lying in order to sensationalize
a story is acceptable. It's true, we can all get the facts
wrong, even checking, and rechecking... it can happen.
We can also be misled when we're given the wrong information
either deliberately or not. I'm not sure what happened
with the Tribune, but I think they need to do a little
more investigative reporting on their own instead of simply
reprinting what they're fed. That happened last
summer when they were simply reprinting everything
Cariboo Fire Center's information officer (who in turn
was being fed her information right from the top) gave
to them, which forced me in turn to refute in the same
newspaper a good bit of what she had given them.
It's sad that the cutbacks felt by paper and television
media no longer allows for much in the way of investigative
reporting. And they're the first to admit it, especially
CanWest. Instead, most of these places just accept whatever
is sent into them, which explains why two different new
stations out of the Lower Mainland have identical news
on them. It's no surprise that so many are going broke
as they lose ground to the Internet. It's as though they
don't care anymore and are just waiting for the last spark
I understand that the air quality in Wiliams Lake
improved substantially today and hopefully they
were able to get all their aircraft into the air. All
the major interface fires I have listed before, including
the fires at Alexis Creek and at Meldrum, continue to
grow. I feel for the guys (and gals) on the ground and
in the air. Weather conditions have not been working in
their favor, particularly with wind warnings for this
afternoon. One small glimmer of hope. Some rain showers
are expected for the Cariboo and a cooling of temperatures
this weekend. It's just for a couple of days before it
starts to heat up again next week, but hopefully it will
help everyone make some headway on these fires. If they're
really lucky, they'll get the surprise downpour we did
this week during that lightning storm. Cross our fingers.
The bc wildfire website address that I gave before still
doesn't upgrade a lot of their information but he Cariboo
Regional District also has a website with news releases.
You can find that info at http://www.cariboord.bc.ca/WhatsNew/NewsReleases.aspx
. They get their info from CFC but at least there's a
little more of it, sometimes...
Oh, hey! On a brighter note, I forgot to mention
a bear I saw in the meadow along the road on the way up
to Nimpo yesterday. He was out in the middle in
deep grass so I couldn't tell if it was a black or grizzly
bear. He seemed to have the hump and stand like a grizzly,
but he was coal black and at that distance... I watched
him for a while and debated on going back to get my camera,
but I had stuff in my truck that I had to get up to the
post office. He sure was big, whatever he was! I'm kind
of glad I'm still not able to walk any distances. I wouldn't
care to run into him, nor would the dogs.
Just got some updates in so I'll add them here for those
of you that will be travelling this way. The highway west
of Alexis Creek was closed between four and six this evening
to allow air tankers to do their drops. The highway
has been re-opened and no plans for more road closures
are expected. Travellers are advised that smoke
at Alexis Creek may reduce visibilty so please drive accordingly.
Also, all of the wildfires are causing wildlife to be
on the move. Additionally, open gates, and burned or broken
fences means there is a lot more livestock on the move,
particularly along the road corridors. Please slow down
when you see livestock! Okay, I think that's it. Cross
your fingers for wet weather for the Cariboo over the
next couple of days and say a little prayer for fire fighters
and aircraft on the fires this weekend.
Meldrum And Alexis Creek Fires
a note: We have not been evacuated at Anahim Lake or Nimpo
Lake. The Anaham Reserve at Alexis Creek was evacuated.
The media got it wrong. It's Two different places.
Fires to the east of us continue to be active, particularly
in the Meldrum Creek Area. Less wind did keep the fire
at Alexis Creek from taking off to the extreme that it
has the past few days, but heavy smoke this morning hampered
operations there a great deal. On the other hand,
there has been nothing calm about the cluster of Meldrum
Creek fires while they continue to exhibit agressive behavior.
Relatives of some folks out here lost their home to one
of those forest fires last night. I expect we'll be hearing
more of that in days to come.
I'm seeing a real change in operations since Type I Incident
Management Teams have arrived on the scene from elsewhere.
Prior to them coming in to take over some of these big
fires, we were not seeing the resources put on fires that
should have been. The fact that so many fires around
Williams Lake were allowed to grow to the size that they
were before being actioned to any extent is shocking and
the number of interface fires (involving structures) unprecedented.
The entire province of British Columbia is dry. In fact
the Lower Mainland has received less rain in the past
month than most other places in the province. There have
been fire starts throughout the province due to lightning
strikes, but other than the Lilloett/Lytton area which
has extremely steep terrain and is very difficult to fight
fire in (a problem they have nearly every year that it's
dry), the Cariboo is the only place that is literally
In the 24 hours preceding July 28, there were approximately
60 fires started by lightning and they were all listed
as small, less than a hectare in size. Prior to
that, the only fires considered notable were the Kluskus
fire, and ours in Tweedsmuir and that one was just allowed
to burn because it didn't threaten anyone. That
was only eight days ago!!! What happened??? The
fires are huge and one has to stop and ask why. Pretty
obvious, I think. I've been commenting on the person running
the Cariboo Fire Center since last year since the original
fire center manager retired. It would seem I may have
been far too kind in my past comments.
Numerous personnel have reported to me that many of these
fires that are now huge and out of control were reported
as tiny spot fires. In fact, many were reported into the
CFC repeatedly, with people expressing concern over these
spots growing larger and the smoke color changing over
a period of days and eventually in many cases, they were
forbidden to report the changes over the radio. There
has definitely been a radio blackout that everyone has
noticed but I'll discuss that at a later date.
In the one particular incident that I know of and mentioned
a few blogs back, a fire crew actually arrived at
the scene and deemed the fire too small to bother with
and left without putting it out. Other reports
were simply ignored. Why? When everywhere else in the
province, as soon as there's even a whiff of smoke, the
fire centers are on on them like flies on manure and hit
them fast and hard with everything they've got. Why did
we have several hundred fire fighters sitting on their
thumbs up at the Cariboo Fire Center for days without
orders? Why was so much equipment not in use and guys
on standby not called out?
For that matter, why were there no fire camps set
up? When the fire at Alexis Creek crossed the
highway the other day, firefighters caught on the east
side of Alexis Creek could not get back to where they
had been based at Puntzi Lake, which is a LONG way from
Alexis Creek. Why in heaven's name would you not have
called for a fire camp to come rolling in closer to the
active fires? Puntzi is somewhere around 40 miles from
Alexis Creek so it's going to take crews at least 40 minutes
to get to the eastern fire in the morning, and that long
again returning in the evening. That's a lot of trucks
for crew members and a lot of fuel, not to mention the
waste of time travelling.
What little information permitted out to the media or
online basically said that due to the smoky conditions
Cariboo Fire Center considered the safety of fire fighter
personnel of the utmost importance and a priority.
I agree that it is but that's pretty much all
they said. It wasn't until Management Teams from elsewhere
rolled into town that things really started hopping.
Before when you checked the bc wildfire website,
there was next to nothing for information regarding resources
on fires. For that matter, updating of information
was slow or inaccurate and not to be trusted. But by Monday,
one fire camp after another had rolled into Williams Lake.
Numerous firefighters were either coming in or those already
here were being put on fires. Lo-beds with Cats for fire
guards was set to rolling as well as water tenders and
other equipment. Suddenly there were all kinds of resources
listed on each fire on the website as well as mapping
and information, and the radios fairly crackled with action.
People responsible for calling in check times for units
on a fire were giving manifests over the radio (lists
of equipment and manpower on the fire.) yet you heard
little of that earlier before. So either they weren't
calling them in, or they had nothing in the way of people
or equipment on the fires they were working. It's
pathetic that many of our unit crews were sent to other
provinces when our province was deadly dry by early summer
already, leaving us shorthanded.
Finally, something is being done!
So what happened here? How did Williams Lake end
up surrounded by massive, out of control fires
when wildfire conditions were no different than anywhere
else in the province where it was dry? Well, someone dropped
the ball, and that goes back to the manager of the Cariboo
He has succeeded over the past two years in getting rid
of most of the personnel that argued with his thoughts
on how things should be done in the Cariboo. Even though
he comes from Coast where there's rarely ever fires and
doesn't seem to have a clue about the Cariboo Chilcotin.
Or you certainly don't have a clue if you think
red and dead beetle killed pine is no longer a danger
in forest fires. Hey, how is that
thought working out for you, anyway, buddy??
So that left personnel at the CFC that may or may not
agree with how things are done up there, but they need
their jobs and they keep their mouths shut. Especially
since they've learned that the head of the CFC will not
take blame for anything that goes wrong. And fire being
of the nature it is, things can and do go wrong
during the fire season, but you have to make decisions
fast, and just take responsibility for that decision when
the smoke clears. So if you're out there directing crews
and helis fighting fire, and know that your butt is going
to be on the line and you will be thrown
to the wolves if anything goes wrong, how likely are you
to make decisions out in the field?
Most of the time when questions went in, the answer from
the dispatcher was, "I'll check with Ops." It
seems every single thing had to be run by the office.
No one was making split second decisions on the ground.
If you add the fact that the CFC simply seemed to be ignoring
many of the small fires, which are now huge fires, then
you're going to have a problem.
So besides personnel not making decisions on the
ground, there would appear to be another serious flaw
in the system. Apparently, the manager of the
Cariboo Fire Center gets bonuses based on several criteria
set out by the Ministry of Forests every year. You get
the other Forestry personnel involved in Fire Protection,
you get a bonus. You demonstrate a savings on budget,
you get a bonus. Apparently it can add up to quite a pile
of money. Now first question.... why the hell is anyone
in that position getting a bonus for doing their job properly??
Is property and lives at risk for the sake of someone
trying to meet criteria for bonuses? A bonus incentive
would certainly explain the three full time positions
that were given away last year, causing us to lose full
time lookouts on nine forestry watch towers. Apparently
this guy made it clear that he was determined to break
the union's back. He pulled the lookouts off early in
2008 so it would be easier to make it to July and have
the nine months needed to knock those full time lookouts
out of a job and into an as is, where is, part time
position. Only three lookouts out of nine were
put up last year due to us raising hell. Ours, Alex Graham
watch tower because supposedly it has to be up if Kappan
is up, and Jesmond, the 100 Mile House lookout, because
the MLA raised hell as well and that's her district.
I was told that had Chilanko lookout been up this
year, the fires on the west of Alexis Creek would have
been spotted and reported much sooner. Had the
lookout not been pulled from Alex Graham two days before
the Bull Canyon fire things would have been much different.
And had the other lookouts, including Fish Pot west of
Quesnel been up, it's highly likely that all those fires
west and south of Quesnel toward Williams Lake and Meldrum
would have been spotted much sooner. Although it appears
it makes no difference in many respects even if fires
were spotted and reported. It would seem they were still
Is this all for the sake of saving money? We know that
the Ministry has already blown past the $50 million allotted
for fires in BC this year and continue on that track at
about $6 million a day now. However, the Government insists
that they will spend whatever they have to on forest fires
in the province. There is no limit to that. If that's
the case, then why do you have incentives for bonuses
to fire center managers, one in which the criteria includes
All I know is that I'm relieved to see Type I Management
Teams in from other areas that go right over this nut's
head. Because suddenly, fires are being fought. Unfortunately,
in the long run, allowing those fires to get to the size
that they have under the weather conditions that existed
is going to cost a lot more now than if they had been
put out when they were spots.
Fires exploding to the size that they have bring significant
problems beyond the obvious. Today, every flying
bird in Williams Lake is grounded at the airport.
Visibility is about 3/8s of a mile, so poor that it would
be too dangerous for the helis to try to go up. How much
ground did the Meldrum fires gain because of no bucket
action? Tankers and fire retardant? Bird dogs? Were they
able to bring in aircraft from other jurisdictions to
action the fires around Williams Lake? And what cost to
have that much aircraft sitting useless on the tarmac?
All because of smoke from fires that have grown terrifyingly
huge in a manner not seen in this province.
Pelican Lake complex north of Nazko, 37,065 acres.
Four largest fires at Alexis Creek combined, 57,000
Meldrum Creek fires combined size, 45,000 acres.
Dog Creek Fire over 15,400 acres.
These are only some of the interface fires that were allowed
to get that big and does not count all the other fires
in the region, including ours here, that do not threaten
homes. Total acres burned so far is over 150,000.
I have no beef with with any of the guys in the
air or on the ground and only have the highest admiration
for them. They'll be battling their guts out fighting
these fires and my heart goes out to them. But something
very strange has happened here and I think it needs to
Already the Anahim band Chief at Alexis Creek was on television
tonight saying that things should not have happened as
they did. As a result, I understand from one of the band
members here that the population at Alexis Creek has been
blacklisted from working for the Cariboo Fire Center as
a result. (Often locals are hired to help out with accommodations,
etc. and trained to monitor and fight some fires.) Apparently
little Gestapo up at the Fire Center figures if he can
keep information over the radios to a minimum, control
what the media writes, (oh yeah, we're gonna cover that
too.) and blackmail everyone else into keeping a lid on
things, no one can figure out what a huge screw
up this summer's fire season has been so far in the Cariboo
Fire Center's area.
I'll continue on this later, but for now, an update on
our conditions. We woke up to pretty heavy smoke this
morning, enough to make it worth closing up windows and
doors and turning on the furnace fan because the smoke
smell outside was pretty strong. We got a touch of breeze
this morning but not enough to move the smoke out but
then we started getting rain. Not a hard rain, but it
has sprinkled all day and really wet the ground down.
It has also served to clear the smoke smell. I think the
low gray we're seeing now cutting our visibility is not
so much smoke as just really low cloud. It's socked in
pretty good above us and our temperatures are more than
10 degrees cooler than yesterday and humidity is quite
high. In fact, we're contemplating starting a fire in
the wood stove. Quite a contrast but it's a happy one!
We have been very, very lucky with today's rain
along with the one the other night. I don't envy
the air quality for anyone east of us and my sympathy
goes out to everyone.
night's wild thunderstorm gave us a full one inch of rain
for which we are all eternally grateful. There were some
great big smiles around Nimpo today because everyone I
spoke to was worried about the number of lightning strikes
we were getting and were more than aware of just how many
fires we could have been facing by this morning had we
not gotten so much rain. We'll still get fires,
but it will take a couple of days for them to really show
up. While we got a lot of rain and the trees were
literally dripping this morning, by this afternoon it
had all soaked into the ground and within a day or two,
you won't even know we got it. That's when small fires
started by lightning in old snags, stumps or underbrush
will start creeping in the heat. Still, it's nice to have
the breathing room and see everything look fresh and green
again. Although not everything.....
I've been noticing that a lot of aspen along the highway
have leaves turning brown and drying out. Until
this rain we were faced with a really early fall.
More rain is supposed to hit the entire province this
weekend, which I'm sure everyone is looking forward to.
We'll see if we get anymore then.
We started out with a pretty nice day. It was only slightly
hazy with smoke, blue sky and a little cloud with high
humidity. Unfortunately, by this afternoon one of our
local fires around either Tweedsmuir or Corkscrew Basin
must have blown a lot of smoke up because it got more
and more hazy as the day wore on. It's still hazy on all
horizons this evening but I'm hoping it will drop a bit.
There was a solar flare that's supposed to bring
on some great northern lights tonight and I would like
to see them.
The Cariboo is still smoked in pretty badly and the fires
there are still going great guns. They had no rain whatsoever
last night but they did have gusting winds today, so no
break for them at all. I'm still waiting on an update
on what's happening with their fires so that will probably
be tomorrow. Since tomorrow is supposed to be a really
hot day for all of us, I don't imagine things will get
better for them at all.
luck has definitely run out when it comes to forest fire
possibilities. A storm moved in early this evening and
there has been major thunder and lightning ever since.
We were eating supper and watching the news when I noticed
that three boats were coming in one after another off
the lake. I just assumed that they knew each other and
never thought to look at the storm clouds overhead or
take a listen outside. It wasn't until I was standing
at the sink doing dishes when a huge thunder clap rattled
the window. I just about jumped out of my shoes
it was such a shock! And it had that zipper crackle besides
the boom that tells you it's close. No wonder the boats
were scrambling in off the lake!
It is some storm and so far has lasted over
three hours with more zig zag lightning than I have ever
seen out here before. We rarely get a lot of thunder and
lightning out in this country but this storm even beats
last year's doozy that caused all the fires out here through
the summer including the Heckman Pass fire. That storm
lasted throughout the day for eight solid hours but
I never saw nearly the lightning from it that I have in
the past three hours. A lot of the lightning had
up to five forks sky to ground, while lots of it simply
ripped across the sky, the thunder following it booming
from horizon to horizon. None of the thunder tonight has
been that low mortars of war rumble. Nope.... this is
thunder! Crashing, booming, vibrating, and crackling,
when nearby and grumbling long and low when at a distance.
I was just out at my greenhouse closing it up and was
looking straight at it when there was the bright pink
of an enormous lightning flash that blinded me. I barely
started to count when thunder crashed so nearby that it
just about knocked my socks off! That one was just too
close, as have been many tonight.
The only thing I'm really hoping is that the rain
we've gotten with this storm may have made the difference
to fire starts. We saw a great wall of rain over
Charlotte Lake before the storm hit us and Heidy says
that they got a terrific amount of rain there. Suits me
if it rains here all night. Boy, could we use it! Still,
I'm fully expecting there to be lots of fires reported
tomorrow. It's impossible for there not to be with this
amount of lightning.
Hallelujah! I just went out to check on
rain gauge (at 10:30 pm) in pouring rain, and it's already
up to 1/2 an inch. That's more than we've seen in the
past two months! That's awesome. I feel a lot better about
how many new fires there will be tomorrow.
Today was mixed cloud and a lot of smoke haze from that
fire that started yesterday near Highway 20 and Tweedsmuir.
That fire has created a number of spot fires but the main
fire appears to be heading away from the highway, and
Coastal Initial Attack crews are actioning the spots,
so at this point in time, all seems cool for the highway
in that direction.
Highway 20 through Alexis Creek is now open as is
the alternative route in case the fire there causes
a problem with the highway again. There have been more
evacuation orders in the Cariboo Fire Region including
for Bull Canyon and Riske Creek Military Reserve.
I'll try to update everyone tomorrow on what's happening
here and elsewhere for forest fires.
Forest Fires Anahim Lake Area
we were counting our lucky stars regarding forest fires.
Today .... Not so lucky....
My sister called from Williams Lake early this afternoon
to ask how we were making out here regarding fires since
lightning was expected in our area. I told her how great
it was to see the sun this morning and that yesterday's
smoke had mostly cleared out. All I had to report was
high fluffy clouds, nothing looking ominous and packing
lightning. I spoke too soon, of course.
She said it was really bad in town with smoke and ash
and that air quality was again horrendous. She and her
husband had been on the north side of their house where
the mountain rears up behind them and wondered where all
the large falling ash was coming from. Then they went
around the house to the south side where they overlook
Williams Lake and the hills beyond. She said it
looked like the Apocalypse with great columns of smoke
and what looked like an orange glow behind the hill.
The Alkali Lake/Dog Creek Fires had blown up and I guess
the Alkali Lake native Indian band was to have been evacuated
to Sugar Cane reserve south of town, but that reserve
is apparently also under evacuation alert, so they were
diverted to an evacuation center in Williams Lake along
with all the other people moved out of various areas.
That included my nephew and his girl friend.
They could tell last night that the fires surrounding
their ranch were getting worse. Visibility was
almost nil and the smoke was so bad that they wore wet
bandannas over their mouths as they spent until 3:30 in
the morning unlocking and opening all the local ranch
gates for two huge ranches. There were several hundreds
of cattle and horses that had to be freed as well as sheep,
lambs, and even chickens. They wanted to make sure
the livestock had some hope of escaping the fire when
it came. They passed a fire in one spot that they
were afraid might close in behind them if they couldn't
get back through in time. They arrived at a nearby rancher's
to check on things there about the time forestry personnel
arrived late at night to give evacuation orders and
got home to find the same orders posted on the door of
their home. So they loaded up their valuables
that had been sitting in the middle of the living room
floor for days and headed into Williams Lake.
Funny how things work out. That same nephew ran into a
group of out of province forest fire fighters today and
they told him that they had been sitting up at the Cariboo
Fire Center along with helicopters for three days and
no one would give them orders or tell them where to go.
They said it was heartbreaking to know that there
were so many fires around that they could be actioning
and here's 200 personnel sitting on the tarmac without
orders and without permission to go fight fire.
That's just nuts! Here some 'leader' of a unit tells my
nephew and another rancher that the fire they reported
was too low priority for how shorthanded they were, (see
yesterday's blog) and yet there's 200 guys sitting up
at the airport wanting to fight fire and
not allowed to. Get this.... remarkably
the Cariboo Regional District has all this stuff posted
on their website that has come from the Cariboo Fire Center's
information officer. See the quote below:
All of the Cariboo Fire Centre's available resources are
currently working in the region, including firefighters,
helicopters and heavy equipment, with additional assistance
from other parts of the province and outside B.C.
The Fire Center has crews, helicopters, air tankers and
heavy equipment available at a moment's notice to aid
Pardon the language, but the lying ba....tards! What gives
here? I sure would like to delve into this farther and
force an investigation by Ministry of Forests into whatever
that ding dong leader is doing up there at the Cariboo
Fire Center, but I may not have to. The one rancher
at Meldrum Creek is madder than a wet hen and since it
looks like all three ranches in that particular area may
very well be lost tonight or tomorrow to these fires,
I'm thinking this dork may have his hands full. Particularly
since CFC Structural protection refused to put sprinkler
systems on those ranch buildings. This is something they
normally do anytime there's an interface fire (forest
fires involving residences, etc.) to protect the buildings
as best as possible from fire. But it isn't just the buildings.
It's the thought that hundreds of farm animals may die
because of the inadequate use of resources right from
the get go this spring.
That isn't the only screw up by the CFC by any means.
There's been lots!
There was a Town Hall meeting in Alexis Creek today and
there's a whole bunch of really P.O'd people in that community.
Apparently Forestry decided they were going to do a back
burn on one of the fires at Alexis Creek. A local rancher
wanted to go with the unit crew so that he could show
them where livestock was located. The unit crew refused
to allow him to come with them and went out to do their
back burn. Unknowingly, they set it where eleven
horses were in a pasture. Only four made it out.
I raised and bred horses and know them to be a thin skinned,
easily frightened species. I don't even want to imagine
the terror of those animals before they died.
In any case, back to the fires around here.
Shortly after talking to my sister this afternoon, I went
to the neighbour's and then on to Nimpo to do some watering.
Reports started coming in of one fire after another, first
over in the Corkscrew Basin to the north of us, and then
of fires in Tweedsmuir Park, all lightning strikes from
the sound of it, and all grew really quickly. Even though
Initial Attack crew and helicopter were on one fire in
Tweedsmuir close to the highway almost immediately, it
just took off. It's just this side of the Heckman Pass
fire but since the fire fighters/heli returned to Anahim
Lake after it went rank 4 with 45km winds, I have no idea
what happened with it. But I could see the result.
I was at a residence up on a hill above Nimpo and I
could see the dirty orange black pall of smoke begin to
block the sun overhead, and as I made to come
home and dropped down the hill and rounded the corner,
I could see the huge pillar of smoke rising from the base
of hills between us and Heckman Pass.
After supper I decided to go back up to Nimpo Lake and
get a picture of the smoke column if it was still visible.
It was, but there was also a lot of smoke to the north
and the direction of the wind would not take the Tweedsmuir
smoke that way. I decided to take a drive to Anahim Lake
where there's a good view of the Itcha Illgatchuz Range
where there was a large fire in the Corkscrew Basin last
year. Sure enough, just behind last year's fire
and slightly over the hill, a dense pall of white smoke
hugged the ridge line for miles driven by a stiff west
wind, until, the farther east it went the blacker
and more orange the smoke got. It had probably been created
an hour or two before and collected farther to the east.
There were several natives at Two Mile where I parked
to take pictures and we discussed the fires. They stated
that there was another fire up the Dean Road north of
Anahim Lake toward Buffalo Ranch. That's the same direction
of a fire in 2006 that put the community on evacuation
alert and evacuation before the wind switched. While a
wind out of the north is normally unusual for us in summer,
this has been a weird summer regarding wind.
All summer it has been switching back and forth, coming
out of the north, west, or northwest. A problem if there's
a fire in that direction.
From Two Mile, I could also see the Tweedsmuir fire
very clearly. Actually, it looked like there was
fire in two different places. There was a huge black column
and then what looked to be a smaller one next to it. I
don't know if the space between the two fires indicated
a spot fire near the main fire, or if the space between
the two smokes indicated that the fire had jumped the
highway. I hope not. Right now, the highway is closed
to the east of us again because a fire crossed the road
at Alexis Creek this afternoon. If the highway ends up
closed between Anahim Lake and the top of the Hill, it
means we're cut off again as we were last year. However,
it's all conjecture tonight. We'll see what the word is
You can find yesterday's article at July
Week Three. I know many of you have
probably given up waiting for a blog (I'm sorry!) so you'll
miss out on a lot of previous fire information that is
a prelude to this article if you don't go back and read
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!