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Canada is on fire - stay away


EWolfe
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Approximately 200 homes destroyed overnight in Kelowna shocked.gif . Couple of pretty nice wineries in that part of the city, also.

Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park has been completely burned over, Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway cycling trail is next in line - all those beautiful old trestles and bridges don't stand a chance if the winds kick up again this evening frown.gif .

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Here's NASA's view - Kelowna is the biggest fire, in the lower left quadrant. Somewhere left of the active fire front are the Boulder Fields and Kelowna Crags, both completely burnt through the other day. The northern edge of the fire is burning within city limits, taking out subdivisions:

 

http://www.pep.bc.ca/operations/BC_Fires_NASA-3.jpg

 

But just for the record - much of Canada is, in fact, NOT on fire at this time. Squamish, for instance, is bone dry but not yet actively combusting. So you don't need to stay away, just be extremely careful if you come up. And maybe fill all your water bottles before you leave home - we're running low.

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Yeah, there's bad Pine Beetle all through the Interior, including the area of the Kelowna fire. All that standing dead-wood makes for pretty good fuel, it seems. Of course, if the forests were allowed to burn more frequently, we wouldn't get such bad beetle infestations, either. The Okanagan forests historically burned about every 5 to 15 years on average, but since the invention of fire suppression, we've managed to reduce that to about once every 50 - 75 years. So instead of frequent, small, low-intensity fires keeping the fuel supply from accumulating, we now get these massive, once-in-a-lifetime, "Oh My Gawd" conflagrations that consume everything in their path. They call it "forest management" or some such nonsense.

 

As for the beetle-killed trees, the wood acquires a kind of mottled purply-bluish appearance, and some log-home builders are finding that people will pay extra to have their homes built of these logs because they like the effect. I've seen photos of a couple, and they do look pretty cool.

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I spent last week in Penticton. What a scene! It went from smelling like a forest fire to smelling like burnt refridgerators. The water bombers flew overhead non-stop. You could see the houses burning...pretty sad. Meanwhile, the Ironman Triathlon is going on and all the hotels are "No Vacancy", with 30,000 local evacuees staying at secondary schools. Retarded. (For the science geeks like myself, the fire had a HUGE plume of water vapor condensing over the top of it. Way cool.)

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I was up on a peak outside Revelstoke this weekend. Though the province is not actually on fire, it is smouldering a bit. I could see seven individual fires burning, all of them small enough to be left burning while they deal with the bigger ones.

 

Shame about the crags outside Kelowna. The boulder fields were particularly unique. cry.gif I wonder what that intense heat does to the hardware?

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Here's a link to the BC Forest Service, detailing road closures in each district. This particular site is for Squamish Forest District, but with a little nosing around you should be able to find every district in the province:

 

http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsq/Publications/Announcements/RoadClosureBulletin.htm

 

Feels like we could get some thunder/lightning this evening, which is not what we need. Hopefully there'll be about a foot of rain come with it.

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Any news on how Skaha has been effected, if at all?

I know intense heat can exfoliate the rock, removing old holds (but replacing them with new ones?). Too bad about the Kelowna area - hope folks get some relief soon.

 

Sorry about the title to this thread, I was attempting to be humorous about having Squamish to myself... tongue.gif

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