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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2018, 12:37 AM
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BC Forest Fire Upsates / Management

I am surprised we don’t have a thread for this (or maybe we do but I am too lazy to dig deep enough)

Well it looks like the chickens are coming home to roost again this year with several major forest fires burning in the Okanagan Valley.

As of now we have Okanagan Mt. Park (340 HA)
Mt. Eneas near Peachland (500 HA) which is causing havoc on the 97.
Mt. Cockle (93 HA) near Summerland

Then there is Scully Mtn. (400 HA) near Keremeos.
Placer Mtn. (150 HA) also near Keremeos.

And then dozens of small spot fires throughout the area and some larger ones in the Central Interior as well.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...neas-1.4752971





Pics are from the article posted.

A low pressure system will be just skirting the southern interior tomorrow before heating up again. This could go three ways, it dips low enough to give at least some relief to the fires, it stays too far north and is neutral to the fires, or it gives little to no precipitation but ignited thunderstorms causing more fires and spreads the existing ones through gusty winds.

I really don’t want to be smoked out in BC again this summer... so I hope they get things under control.

That said, nearly all of these fires are natural (started by lighting, not people) so I am asking, did BC learn anything from last year??

The Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir forests of the southern interior are over crowded with saplings, spindly trees, and thick underbrush from over 100 years of fire suppression. This last winter and spring, how many controlled burns did the province perform in the Okanagan??? I have personally noticed for many years that the stretch between Summerland and West Kelowna is especially long overdue for a burn, same with the stretch between Kelowna and Vernon.

PS someone please fix the title
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2018, 1:51 AM
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Perhaps feds should allow first nations to perform the burning as part of the latter's traditional duty...? That definitely saves money.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2018, 2:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dengler Avenue View Post
Perhaps feds should allow first nations to perform the burning as part of the latter's traditional duty...? That definitely saves money.
Some integrated programs of off season burning with local natives would be a good idea (not just in the interior but also the Gulf Islands / Vancouver Island) but to really correct this problem it will require involvement and commitment from all levels of government and communities.

Okanagan Mountain Fire now 400 HA

Mt. Eneas has doubled to 1000 HA.

Some evacuations are now in progress.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 12:19 PM
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Taking a Look at Wildfire Elsewhere

https://globalnews.ca/news/4349230/g...-toll-tops-50/

And I thought Canada (particular BC, ON, and QC) already has it bad enough...

Meanwhile, BC firefighters have been recalled from Ontario and Quebec as fire situation in BC worsens.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 4:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post

That said, nearly all of these fires are natural (started by lighting, not people) so I am asking, did BC learn anything from last year??

The Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir forests of the southern interior are over crowded with saplings, spindly trees, and thick underbrush from over 100 years of fire suppression. This last winter and spring, how many controlled burns did the province perform in the Okanagan??? I have personally noticed for many years that the stretch between Summerland and West Kelowna is especially long overdue for a burn, same with the stretch between Kelowna and Vernon.
You realize that the highlighted section is absolute fake news right?

The pine forests in BC have been decimated by Mountain Pine Beetle. It's those standing, dead trees that are leading to the extreme fire behavior.

Prescribed burns in mountainous areas near population centres is insanity.

Young, actively growing forests generally don't burn especially after June when the trees are at the highest rate of growth. The density of these types of forests help retain moisture as it prevents solar energy from drying out the soil. The exception to this is very dry years.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 4:34 PM
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You realize that the highlighted section is absolute fake news right?

The pine forests in BC have been decimated by Mountain Pine Beetle. It's those standing, dead trees that are leading to the extreme fire behavior.

Prescribed burns in mountainous areas near population centres is insanity.

Young, actively growing forests generally don't burn especially after June when the trees are at the highest rate of growth. The density of these types of forests help retain moisture as it prevents solar energy from drying out the soil. The exception to this is very dry years.
Wow, just wow. My gradation thesis at University was the effects of forest fire suppression within the montane forest / grassland ecosystems (with focus on the Ponderosa Pine / Douglas Fir Sub biogeoclimatic zones) using countless sources, data, GIS analysts, and ground truthing, and yes forest fire suppression has severely damaged these ecosystems.

You do know that it has been documented that we have already lost about 30% of our natural grasslands due to forest creep since forest fire suppression began right?

You do know that one of the major factors that led to the Pine Beetle epidemic was because of forest fire suppression. Naturally any given location in a Ponderosa Pine forest would experience a naturally occurring low intensity surface fire every 10 to 15 years. These fires would largely only kill sick trees and saplings, removing those most susceptible to pine beetles and prevent the saplings from overcrowding. After 100 years of no burns, the sick trees lingered and some areas had (have) over 100 fold the density of pines pre forest fire suppression. This over crowding leads to many many nutrient poor trees. This made the perfect buffet for the beetles. Combined with warmer winters and we had a powder keg on our hands.

And seriously the fact that you used the term “fake news” made me laugh.

Your last paragraph is also somewhat nonsensical. The fact that the summer is the highest growth season (and actually May to July is the highest growth season, growth slows down dramatically by the time August starts) is irrelevant to the fact that summer is also forest fire season.

How long have you studied this issue personally analyzing decades of satellite data, weather data, manually counting tree densities, tracking post fire growth, etc...?

PS, just to be clear, healthy interior pine forest (and Douglas Fir) are not supposed to have canopies so dense that the forest floor retains moisture as you described. Healthy (natural) parkland forests have widely spaced trees with sparse shrub densities (the forest floor should primarily be grasses). The current densities that have become the norm due to fire suppression has been disastrous for grazing wildlife and other large fauna.

You can also note that the pine beetle epidemic started in the north. This is because due to the shorter less intense summer seasons there relative to the southern interior forest fire suppression has been even more successful there, leading to even more densely packed Lodgepole Pine forests. In fact in the fact sheet you linked to it even says that the pine beetle was especially prolific in the Lodgepole Pine regions due to the lack of tree diversity. This is another side effect of fire suppression. Lodgepole Pine is extremely fast at procreating and without ground fires to kill the excess saplings will choke out other species such as Douglas Firs and Engleman Spruce.
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Last edited by Metro-One; Jul 24, 2018 at 4:49 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 4:40 PM
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I got my forestry degree in 2003.

I disagree with everything you have just posted.

To accuse the BC government of 'not learning' and loosely implying of them doing nothing is laughable.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 4:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleK View Post
I got my forestry degree in 2003.

I disagree with everything you have just posted.

To accuse the BC government of 'not learning' and loosely implying of them doing nothing is laughable.
Really? You don’t believe that we have lost grasslands due to forest creep?

You don’t believe that forest densities have increased since fire suppression started?

You don’t believe that when fires do occur these days that instead of low intensity surface creep fires we experience high intensity crown fires due to an excess build up of fuel?

The pine beetle has actually been an indirect correction in pine densities to some degree (though it has been largely absent in the Okanagan)

And yes, I do call the BC government irresponsible in its forest management, and not just concerning controlled burns.
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Old Posted Jul 24, 2018, 7:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleK View Post
I got my forestry degree in 2003.

I disagree with everything you have just posted.

To accuse the BC government of 'not learning' and loosely implying of them doing nothing is laughable.
Did you get your degree from the back of a match book?

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/scien...rojet-projects

Banff National Park

Dormer Valley

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 6,800ha
Location: Within the east slopes area of Banff National Park, directly adjacent to the east park boundary approximately 45 km north of the Banff townsite.
Additional Details: The goal is to safely use fire to restore habitat. Parks Canada will use prescribed fire in the Dormer Valley to meet ecological and operational objectives. This fire will contribute to the restoration of open forest and grassland meadows by reducing the encroachment of conifer species caused by decades of fire suppression. These meadows provide critical year-round habitat for mountain sheep, goats, grizzly bears, wolves, elk and potentially bison.

Moose Meadows

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 100ha
Location: In the middle Bow Valley in Banff National Park along the Bow Valley Parkway, 26 km west of the Banff townsite.
Additional Details: The goal is to safely use fire to restore habitat and create a fuel break for the Banff townsite. The Moose Meadows prescribed fire is a key component of a valley wide fuel break in the middle Bow Valley. It will help mitigate the spread of wildfires, and will assist in the maintenance and restoration of native grassland habitats important to wildlife.

Harry's Hill

Date: Fall
Size: 25 hectares
Location: Adjacent to Harry's Hill subdivision near the hamlet of Lake Louise.
Additional Details: The Harry's Hill prescribed fire will help maintain the safety of residents by strengthening pre-existing firebreaks and increasing the security of the Bow Valley Corridor against significant wildfire events. In addition, the Harry's Hill prescribed burn will enhance wildlife habitat and help to restore native meadow vegetation.

Baker Creek

Date: Fall
Size: 800 hectares
Location: 10 km east of Lake Louise on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Additional Details: The objectives of this prescribed fire are to increase grizzly bear habitat quality, reduce mountain pine beetle susceptible trees, contribute to historic fire cycle objectives by restoring an area of young fire generated forest and enhancing natural barriers to fire spread.

Alexandra

Date: Fall
Size: 1,571 hectares
Location: West of the Icefields Parkway in the north of Banff National Park, near the Jasper border
Additional Details: The goals of this prescribed fire include re-establishing early seral forest, contributing to area burned goals, enhancing grizzly bear habitat and restoring whitebark pine habitat.

Kootenay National Park

Redstreak Mountain

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 235ha
Location: Adjacent to Redstreak Campground in south Kootenay National Parks Canada Agency
Additional Details: The purpose of the Redstreak Mountain prescribed fire is to protect people and property from wildfires by reducing forest fuel loads in the vicinity of Radium Hot Springs, and to restore grasslands and associated habitat traditionally used by Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep and other wildlife.

Vermilion Guard

Date: Fall
Size: 75ha
Location: The northeast corner of Kootenay National Park, 2.4 km west of the continental divide and the border between Banff and Kootenay National Parks.
Additional Details: The purpose of the Vermilion Guard prescribed fire is to enhance barriers to fire spread and enhance habitat for whitebark pine and grizzly bears by re-establishing an early seral forest.

Glacier National Park

20-Mile

Date: Fall
Size: 3200 ha
Location: Southern Glacier National Park within the Beaver Valley
Additional Details: The goals of this prescribed fire are to aid in Whitebark Pine regeneration, protect neighbouring lands, protect species at risk and reintroduce fire in a controlled fashion to an area where fire exclusion has occurred.

Jasper National Park

Henry House 3 - Fireguard Construction

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 330 ha
Location: Along Highway 16, 13 km north of the Town of Jasper
Additional Details: Will help restore grassland.

Community Fireguard

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 5-15 ha
Location: Small units along the Community Fireguard
Additional Details: Community protection and ecological restoration.

Fiddle Complex

Date: Fall
Size: 300 ha in four sub-units
Location: Along the park's east boundary
Additional Details: Will provide a landscape fireguard, remove mountain pine beetle habitat and provide ecological restoration.

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Date: Spring
Size: 100ha
Location: Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, 7km west of Rocky Mountain House
Additional Details:
Parks Canada will implement the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site prescribed fire to reduce the wildfire risk to the national historic site. Other added benefits of this fire include improving the quality of forage for bison, and the removal of non-native vegetation.

Mt. Revelstoke National Park

Parkway Bend

Date: Fall
Size: 150 ha
Location: Meadows in the Sky Parkway, Mount Revelstoke National Park
Additional Details: The goals of this prescribed fire are to protect neighbouring lands by reducing the risk of wildfire spread off the front face of Mount Revelstoke, to create a safety zone for staff and visitors in the event of a wildfire in Mount Revelstoke National Park, and to reintroduce fire in a controlled fashion to an area where fire exclusion has occurred.

Yoho National Park

Porcupine

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 2800ha
Location: The northeast corner of Yoho National Park, 17 km west of Field in the Porcupine Creek drainage.
Additional Details: The purpose of the Porcupine prescribed fire is to enhance habitat for whitebark pine and grizzly bears by re-establishing an early seral forest.

Mt. King

Date: Fall
Size: 1900ha
Location: The northeast corner of Yoho National Park, 15 km west of Field in the lower Kicking Horse River region of Yoho National Park.
Additional Details: The purpose of the Mt. King prescribed fire is to enhance barriers to fire spread and Mountain pine beetle and enhance habitat for grizzly bears by re-establishing an early seral forest.

Float Creek

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 850ha
Location: The northeast corner of Yoho National Park, 11 km southwest of the Field in the Float Creek drainage of Yoho National Park.
Additional Details: The purpose of the Float Creek prescribed fire is to enhance barriers to fire spread and enhance habitat for whitebark pine and grizzly bears by re-establishing an early seral forest.
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Old Posted Jul 25, 2018, 1:21 AM
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Completely agree with Metro-One. I am a Registered Professional Forester and a Registered Professional Biologist in the province of BC. My undergrad was forest ecology/genetics and my post grad (UBC) specialized in alternative silviculture methods using designated trails and long term soil disturbance (compaction) and effects on the regeneration of plantations. I currently oversee all BCTS road construction for the south okanagan and I also own an IT firm specializing in AI algorithm development (deep learning) and using new software applications in forest analysis. Fire suppression has led to significant ingress growth in the drier biogeoclimatic areas of BC over the past 80 years. This has led to fuel load build up and also development of multiple layers of growth allowing "laddering" of fire from the ground up to tree crowns. Multiple areas in Kelowna are removing these fuels and ladder potential where urban development is at risk.

Don't really care weather this dude Double K comes from or if he has a degree in forestry. If you are not educated on fire ecosystems and changes over time and how fire risk has changed accordingly then maybe keep your opinions to yourself.
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Old Posted Jul 25, 2018, 2:17 AM
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FLNRO has learned over the past several decades what fire suppression has done to fire dependant ecosystems like the PP, IDF, and BG. These areas have NDT (natural disturbance regime) of 8-15 yrs for BG, PP, and 20-40 for drier IDF. Most of these areas have not burned for 80+ yrs like BG and PP biogeoclimatic variants in the Okanagan area. Hence we see other cyclical biological processes take over when stands like Pl or Py become overaged. They become weak and if fire does not occur something else like MPB will take over and kill the weaker stand. Remember a dude called Darwin? Survival of the fittest. Weak stands will be replaced by younger growth, and it doesn't matter if it fire, MPB, disease, etc that is the mechanism that removes the weaker stand. And yes, the MPB outbreak lead to lots of standing dead Pl. if we had let fire run its natural course, then MPB may not have had such a big outbreak (warm winters were also a factor-lack of beetle winter kill). However, that is really not practical with the amount of urban development in BC valley bottoms, so we need to control using prescribed burns (in parks, remote or safe areas), and fuel management - removal of ingress growth and restore natural ecosystems if possible.

An example of grassland loss due to ingress growth of Fd and Pl due to fire suppression is present in the Rocky Mountain trench. Historical air photos show grasslands running from Invermere all the way south to the border over the valley bottom. That same area now has over 90% cover of ingress forest growth due to a lack of fire. Much of our grasslands have been lost to forest ingress and urban development.

If response to Double K - young stands don't burn. Wrong - dead wrong. They just don't burn very often for the reasons you mention. The Okanagan Mountain fire that burned in 2003 just had 500Ha reburn this past week-and this is not a bad fire year. Why did it burn - because that is its typical NDT regime. We expect fire to occur and do light broadcast burns every 8-15yrs in the BG and PP. The area that the burned occurred is a highly productive young stand - very dense and moist-as it rained earlier that week. We also saw this in 2007 Springer Creek fire (again not a big fire year) and other large fires where the fire burns off not only the mature stand, but also all the plantations within the fire area. Tolko lost numerous very healthy plantations in the Quesnel complex fires last year.
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Old Posted Jul 25, 2018, 8:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post

As of now we have Okanagan Mt. Park (340 HA)
Mt. Eneas near Peachland (500 HA) which is causing havoc on the 97.
Mt. Cockle (93 HA) near Summerland

That said, nearly all of these fires are natural (started by lighting, not people) so I am asking, did BC learn anything from last year??

This last winter and spring, how many controlled burns did the province perform in the Okanagan??? I have personally noticed for many years that the stretch between Summerland and West Kelowna is especially long overdue for a burn, same with the stretch between Kelowna and Vernon.
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Prescribed burns in mountainous areas near population centres is insanity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VANRIDERFAN View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by millerman View Post
However, that is really not practical with the amount of urban development in BC valley bottoms, so we need to control using prescribed burns (in parks, remote or safe areas), and fuel management - removal of ingress growth and restore natural ecosystems if possible..
Not once did I ever say or imply that prescribed burning doesn't have its place in forest management. Parks Canada uses it constantly as was pointed out by Vanriderfan.

Metro started his post by speaking about the fires near Kelowna and that BC should have used prescribed burns to limit that risk. That is what I was reacting to. Most of that land is private and/or too close to populated areas, zero chance you'd get to set it on fire. In order to limit fuel loads, you need to do something else. I do think that the government has done a good job of enabling the harvest of standing dead timber in order utilize as much fibre as possible and limit the risk of wildfire.

We will disagree on the point on the effects of fire suppression on the MPB epidemic. We do agree that the mild winters have allowed for the spread.

I should have been more clear with my comments related to young forests, of course they can burn. The point I was trying to make, is they are less prone to starts from lightning strikes as opposed stands of beetle killed trees.

I can see my views aren't welcome here, so this will be the last time I post in this thread.
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Old Posted Jul 25, 2018, 9:47 PM
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How much was BC forests taught in an Alberta school I wonder?
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2018, 12:50 AM
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From 604now

BC HAS THE WORST AIR QUALITY IN NORTH AMERICA RIGHT NOW

“It may not come has a surprise, but a real-time map shows that BC has the worst air quality in North America right now.

Created by Berkley Earth, the map provides near real-time updates on particulate matter air pollution less than 2.5 microns in diameter. This type of air pollution is the most damaging form likely to be present. It contributes to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, respiratory infections, and other diseases.

What’s more, the map indicates that BC has some of the worst air quality worldwide. In fact, almost half of the province shows unhealthy or very unhealthy levels of pollution. What’s more, some areas are showing hazardous levels.

Of course, the pollution is directly related to the spread of wildfires across the region. With multiple evacuation issues ordered, the province is in a state of emergency.

With that being said, lung irritation doesn’t come directly from the smoke, but rather the smog.

Specifically, ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air; it is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

As a result of these conditions, people should avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening. Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution.

In addition, exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease and asthma.

Worst Air Quality

Health indicators and qualitative descriptions are included based on the US EPA’s air quality index (AQI) standard for 24-hour exposure.

Berkeley Earth’s objective is to further scientific investigations on the nature of climate change. In addition, they hope to strengthen a major education and communications program to strengthen the scientific consensus on global warming, as well as work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the places that will be the worst emitters over the next 30 years.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.”

Elana Shepert
August 14, 2018

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This is the new normal, isn’t it? Seems like it’s gettig worse every summer.
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Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 4:38 AM
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Alberta as well for three years in a row now... https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmon...moke-1.4792507
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2019, 11:19 PM
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2019, 1:23 AM
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There was a 20-ish hectare fire in Squamish as well, but the rain has / likely will put that one out quickly.

This is actually a great season for fires in the interior because they are low intensity surface creeping fires that remove excess liter, saplings, and dead trees.

Right now is when they should be doing lots of controlled burns.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2019, 2:22 PM
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Here we go again. They're predicting another dry season in BC, I'm concerned about this being the new norm. Our place up in the Cariboo is expecially vulnerable, being surrounded by crown land and in a fairly remote area. Here's what we and our neighbors up there experienced in 2017. Luckily our little log cottage and the property was spared but a lot of people weren't as lucky. We actually had to flee that July as the only road out became threatened and the gasoline supply at the only station ran out.





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Old Posted Apr 9, 2019, 6:31 PM
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Here we go again. They're predicting another dry season in BC, I'm concerned about this being the new norm. Our place up in the Cariboo is expecially vulnerable, being surrounded by crown land and in a fairly remote area. Here's what we and our neighbors up there experienced in 2017. Luckily our little log cottage and the property was spared but a lot of people weren't as lucky. We actually had to flee that July as the only road out became threatened and the gasoline supply at the only station ran out.
We've booked a few weeks earlier than we normally do in the hopes that firebans will not be on yet. Normally it's been about 50/50 for us over the years, maybe this will help a little. But also the earlier in the summer it is the more rain and cooler it can be as well. Hopefuly we get the best of both worlds - rain up to the week before we go then smoking hot while we're there but still able to have a fire.
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