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 2/2010
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great
contributed stories and ongoing blogs, 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.
Corkscrew Fire Smoke & Tweedsmuir
haven't written in the last couple of days because I figured
we were pretty much in the clear regarding forest fires
and firefighters seem to be getting on top of the other
fires in the Cariboo. However, just after four yesterday
afternoon, a fire in the Corkscrew Basin decided to kick
up a fuss. Located inside park boundaries of the
Itcha Illgatchuz Provincial Park to the north east of
us, we thought it was one that started a couple of weeks
ago or so, but we haven't seen any smoke from that one
in ages. It was a great dirty plume of smoke that the
wind immediately pushed up behind Nimpo Lake, so of course
people were calling to find out what was going on.
We took a run to Two Mile near Anahim Lake last night
to have a look for ourselves, and discovered that the
fire up in the Itcha Illgatchuz was on this
side of the ridge and an entirely different fire than
what was burning two weeks ago. In fact, it appears to
be only slightly to the left of the major
one there last year. Seven kilometers, maybe? So there
can't be many directions left for that fire to burn because
it was already burned over last year.
To the northwest, just west of Anahim Peak, another
great plume was spewing smoke into the air. If
it was the fire in Tweedsmuir Park that initially started
near Highway 20 at the brake check, then it's moved quite
a ways, because it definitely looks like it's in a different
place than it was a couple of weeks ago. However, if the
wind has been pushing it all this time, then I guess it's
possible that it has traveled quite a way. It was throwing
ugly black smoke into the air with several mushroom clouds
peeking up through the lower lying smoke. (Top picture).
We've been really, really good for air quality here
with the horizon clear as a bell, which is why
I hadn't been paying much attention to what was going
on with fires for the past few days. It wasn't until we
saw that first smoke plume in a clear sky that we realized
we had fires here that obviously started a while ago,
because we certainly haven't had any storm clouds that
would create lightning. It's not unexpected. We figured
that there may have been lightning strikes in that storm
a little while back but the rain, high humidity and cooler
temperatures probably would have kept anything from really
developing until it turned hot again. That appears
to have triggered both new fires and encouraged old ones.
What floors me in the face of this obvious danger is that
Kappan Lookout was leaving the watch tower for a few days
and there doesn't seem to be a replacement. So it will
be easy for a small fire to turn into a big one before
an air patrol flies overhead and spots it.
Last night the smoke started rolling in from the Corkscrew
fire and dropped like a stone in our cool overnight temperatures.
I woke up at 4:30 this morning unable to get back to sleep
because of the smoke and got up to close up all the windows
and turn the furnace fan on because it has a filter. But
by later this morning, it had cleared out completely and
turned into a beautiful, clear day, albeit another hot
one. Unfortunately, it's starting to do the same thing
this evening so it will be another smoky night.
Strangely, there was a light dusting of ash and
half burned debris up to a 3/8 of an inch in length on
everything this morning. I haven't seen that since
the Lonesome Lake Fire, and even then I'm not sure the
material was that large. I guess we get to join the ranks
around Alexis Creek and Williams Lake that have been dealing
with that for weeks now.
I'm not sure about the status of fires around Williams
Lake since I haven't seen any bulletins lately other than
there was a new evacuation around Trout Creek and Euchiniko
yesterday, but Alexis Creek fires seemed to want
to join the party today with this heat and wind.
We saw aircraft actioning our smokes this afternoon, but
I don't expect a lot of resources to be expended out here
on fires that aren't endangering anyone at this point
in time. Firefighters and aircrew have enough on their
I ill be off-line until late next week, so I'm afraid
it won't be possible to keep you updated on area fires
for the next few days. Good luck finding information elsewhere
folks. The online web page for the Cariboo Fire Center
is so out of date it's laughable but I understand from
one Nimpo resident that you can get some info from Facebook.
Have a good weekend, folks!
Alexis Creek Forest Fire Pictures
neighbour, Ted Hlokoff, was kind enough to send me some
amazing pictures of the devastation left behind at Alexis
Creek by forest fires there, as well as of some of the
areas still burning. I'll have them on the right and on
Picture of the day. His copy follows:
Looked like a 150 new Forest Fires when I drove
Hwy 20 home tonight. Smoky from Redstone all the way to
Kamloops with the heaviest smoke in Redstone and Williams
Lake on Friday. Very little smoke yesterday when I drove
from Kamloops to Ashcroft, BC. Ashcroft to Bull Canyon
had very light smoke until Bull Canyon where I took the
Although I did see a few "hotspots" on the North side
of Hwy 20 south of the River at Bull canyon and coming
west nearly 10kms there was a lot of smoke. Glad the smoke
was going south and not an issue for Hwy 20 or driving.
No noticeable smoke at Anaham Reserve (Alexis Creek).
Farther west of Bull Canyon alongside of the Highway was
total devastation with only tree "splinters" and ashes
for a couple kilometers on both sides of the highway.
The many (looked to be about 150 separate smoke trails)
fires that were very active were buring on the south side
of the River. The 'detour' road near Bull Canyon was still
closed when I drove past. I saw 3 Helicopters operating
around the fire directly across the river from the campsite.
Firefighters have definitely made headway on several of
the fires burning in the Cariboo. The Meldrum Creek Complex
evacuation order has been reduced to evacuation alert
status and residents are being allowed to return home.
The evacuation alert for the Dog Creek Complex has been
" Weather conditions have allowed fire crews
to achieve approximately 50% containment on all fires.
The immediate forecast is for slight precipitation and
cooler temperatures for the next several days then returning
to a high pressure/increased temperature condition that
may restore unfavourable conditions to the existing Cariboo
fires. The current cool spell is a short reprieve according
to predictions." According to the last bulletin
I received tonight. Which is why I hope fervently that
firefighters and pilots have been able to get ahead as
much as possible on containing the existing fires because
things are going to heat up again.
We had another cool evening with rain showers overnight.
Temperatures didn't go any higher than 15C today and we
had a cool breeze blowing alternately from the North and
then West. We had mixed sun and cloud today with more
cloud than sun for most of the day which helps to keep
There still seems to be no new fires out here so we got
off lucky with that lightning storm. Highway 20 is open
in both directions and it appears there's no reason for
it to be closed in the foreseeable future.
isn't a lot happening around here regarding smoke or fires
so I'll just do a quick general update on surrounding
fires and evacuation alerts.
The weather has changed dramatically over the weekend.
In the past couple of days we've accumulated another 3/8
of an inch of rain and it has been somewhat overcast and
cool. The humidity has been high so the only worry has
been with a brisk wind that started up today. Still, this
kind of weather should assist firefighters in holding
their own and possibly gaining on the massive forest fires
in the Cariboo.
Our air has been wonderfully clear and clean for
a couple of days now and there's no sign of smoke anywhere.
I went out to Nimpo today and you could see a high directional
haze with cloud at the base that may or may not have been
smoke from one of the Tweedsmuir Fires, but it's really
hard to say. It could just as easily have been frontal
cloud coming in from the Pacific.
The weather is supposed to remain this way until Tuesday
when another high builds in about Wednesday. Then it looks
like we're back into summer with temperatures slowly increasing
toward next weekend. As long as we can dodge the lightning
storms, I'm okay with that. The tomatoes will like it
It's been a real joy to take a break the last few
days from watering. I almost had to wonder what
to do with myself. But then reality set in. You know,
computer work, other projects. But I actually had time
to clean out my garden shed yesterday and Andy threw some
shelves up for me. It's amazing! I have places for all
my pots now and can see them at a glance. Desperate this
spring, I put the call out to everyone I knew for pots
for transplanting, unable to figure out why I was so short
of them. In the garden shed, deeply buried under a whole
bunch of other stuff, I found neat stacks of last year's
pots in a big, black garbage bag. I found lots of other
good stuff too that I didn't know I was missing.
So some positive stuff has been happening on the
various fires in the Cariboo. Visibility has improved
considerably around Williams Lake allowing aircraft to
get back on fires. Unfortunately, some of the fires have
grown since I last posted numbers three days ago.
Meldrum Creek combined fires are now 65,500 acres,
up 20,000 acres.
Dog Creek fire has grown 2,000 acres to over 17,500 now.
The Pelican Lake Fires have also grown with just two of
them combined covering 35,500 acres. While one of the
larger fires at Alexis Creek is now 100% contained, the
others still burn on.
Another fire was spotted yesterday but forestry was on
it pretty quick and have stayed on it today.
The evacuation order has been downgraded to an evacuation
alert for a small portion of Meldrum Creek. The rest of
that area is still under evacuation.
The Dog Creek fires have been downgraded from evacuation
to evacuation alert and portion of the evacuation order
for the Pelican Lake complex of fires has been rescinded.
An evacuation alert is still in effect for the Bull Canyon
(Alexis Creek) Complex. I'm assuming that if residents
are being allowed back into some areas, it's either been
burned over or the fire has been turned back in those
areas, presumably using back burns.
I was talking to a friend today that had to go into Williams
Lake earlier this week. She said that going in through
Alexis Creek area was downright eerie. There was
no sign of anyone around either along the highway or on
it. There wasn't a lot of visibility and smoke was low
to the ground. She said it was like travelling through
a moonscape. Along each side of the highway there was
only blackened trees and stumps, and white ash and no
sign of life. She did, however, say it looked much better
coming home Friday, especially since the smoke had lifted
considerably and the fire moved off.
At least one piece of good news came in the mail today
from CRD EOC Communications and it's about what the Noah's
Wish Foundation is doing for evacuees and their pets
WISH COMES THROUGH FOR EVACUATED PETS
T he Cariboo Regional District is pleased that between
Noah's Wish and our community's generosity, evacuated
animals will be cared for until it is safe for them to
return home. The word went out that foster homes were
needed, along with crates, dog food and horse watering
buckets and once again people stepped up to help those
in need. As the people leave the evacuated areas, or even
plan ahead in an alert area, any animals that are brought
out will be taken care of free of charge to the owners.
The Stampede Association has opened their area to horses,
while the BC Livestock yards have agreed to take cattle.
Other large animals can be taken into foster homes, and
small pets will be fostered as well. Noah's Wish has set
up a temporary shelter in Quesnel at the rodeo grounds.
Noah's Wish is a charity organization with volunteers
trained in animal care and rescue as well as disaster
training. When called to aid, they mobilize people across
North America to come support the local organizer, Deb
Knabke, in Quesnel.
Volunteers are not only cleaning and feeding the animals,
they are also grooming, walking and interacting with them
to keep the animals calm and healthy while their families
are going through a time of distress.
Mari Donovan, Noah's Wish coordinator, is from California
and explains their missions is "To provide rescue and
shelter for animals affected by disasters." One family
brought their mother cat and her litter of kittens into
the Quesnel shelter and while she is there she will be
spayed because her owner wanted it but couldn't afford
it, and another citizen offered to cover the expense.
Any donations Noah's Wish receives (it is a registered
Canadian charity) marked "Cariboo" will be spent in this
area to help offset costs. If threatened residents cannot
safely transport the animals out of the danger area, the
Emergency Operation Center can help arrange for it. Please
call the information line at: 250-392-4283. Anyone with
donations or who would like to foster can call: Williams
Lake - Colleen 250-398-5681 or
Quesnel - Pam - 250-747-1925.
This is pretty cool, so if any of you folks are inclined
to help out with a donation or foster home, it would be
This is the start of a new week. You'll find last week's
articles at August
Oh, and if you're wondering about the pictures up on the
right? Well, I decided to post some of the lake out in
front to show how clear our air is. I know it seems like
I'm rubbing it in to those poor souls that have been breathing
forest fires smoke for ages now. But it's actually to
show our visitors hesitant to keep coming this fall that
we're in the clear here for the time being.
Oh, yeah, and you're wondering about that insane bottom
picture? Well, when you're hot and sticky and everything's
dirty and smoky, there's nothing like seeing cold, clean
snow! This is snowmobiling one fine winter day up on Trumpeter
Mountain overlooking Lonesome Lake and the Turner Lake
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!