When I look out my window I swear I’ve time travelled back to my youth in Southern California. The time of the hot Santa Anna winds and the orange tinged choked sky from the burning Laguna canyon that would hang over us for days. The time of fuming freeways yellowing the horizon. News channel says our Vancouver air quality this last week is worse than Beijing. My eyes are burning.
When the sun rises it rises as a red orb. When high noon a pale yellow smudge. When it sets it’s a red orb again. The sunshine coast across the Salish sea has disappeared, along with the other gulf islands out there. Even the trees down the road seem as though they stand behind a gauzy curtain.
The Province has been and still is on fire. Again. Last year it was the same scenario, except Vancouver Island was also among the stricken. This year we’ve been spared- so far. There have been a couple of tiny fires along the highways grassy meridians that were extinguished before they got out of hand, leaving large black swaths in their wake, and you know full well that was caused by an idiots tossed cigarette.
My heart goes out to the thousands evacuated knowing they will be losing their possessions to the flames. And I can imagine the jubilant relief of those that were allowed back to their intact homes when danger passed. Like the guy from Williams Lake who was so happy to return home from an evacuation that he got drunk and shot off fireworks.
We had been enjoying several weeks of uncharacteristically clear, gloriously hot, very windy days and because this is a rain forest it’s a big deal for our sodden lot, we are known for our rain.
If it is spring there is rain, in the autumn-rain. When winter comes there is …rain, and our summers may live up to its reputation in other parts of Canada but here there has been many soaked June’s, iffy July’s, usually pretty great August’s and sporadically fair but cool September’s, followed by yes more rain. I jump for joy when we get a few days of rare snow fall during the winter, anything to break up the grey wetness!
But the rain has been absent. We had very little during the winter and spring and nearly nil snow pack melt in the mountains and yet really we honestly couldn’t hide the glee about the great summer weather we were having FINALLY, it was high time we got a good one!
But we are surely paying the price now. We have become a crackling tinder box where one doesn’t dare to even pass wind for fear it will ignite the very air! We are on fire here on the Pacific North-West.
So far there has been 177 fires burning all around us releasing such masses of smoke that for 3 days it was looking rather Armageddon like; the sun a singular fiery red eye like a laser barely penetrating the thick cover of smoke that blanketed the entire sky in grey/brown. Ashes sprinkled down and the air thick and hazy. The birds weirdly quiet. Strangely, but thankfully, as soon as the sky and air clogged with smoke there hasn’t been a breath of wind; this at least kept the fires from spreading too quickly. But for us creatures it meant very hot, humid, airless, smokey days. And we had to keep our windows shut all day and night to keep the smoke from seeping in. People kept calling 911 saying they could smell smoke nearby worried there was another fire starting, but it was only that the ambient smoke was so dense.
Now after a few days of “smoke cover” the temperature has dropped a bit, and on a very small scale I can understand how maybe the dinosaurs were affected by having the sun cloaked for a long period of time, darkening and cooling the earth… Ok we are nowhere near that scale of doom yet but I thought about them anyway.
The forecast for Sunday says rain, and I’ll be very happy to see it come.