Monday, August 23, 2010

Where the smoke is coming from

Being out in the woods of British California for the best part of the last week and a half, the only news of Alberta we obtained was when we were able to call our wives and catch up on the news. And the big news of course has been the smoke innundating the Alberta atmosphere.
Finding the condition of the Kettle Valley Railway trail to be too torn up, we decided to take the highway route from Princeton to Keremeos and as we pedalled down the highway, we could see smoke filling the valleys up ahead. About 10 klicks out of Keremeos we stopped to watch the forest fire action on top of a nearby mountain. We had seen a helicopter filling a Bambi bucket from a river that parralled the highway and it was easy to spot the birddog plane directing the waterbomber and showing the bomber where to lay down fire retardant. Cars were stopped along the highway and a crowd watched as the fire service people did their best to control the fire. The mountain was too rugged to have firefighters placed on its slopes and we could only watch in awe as nature had its way and the flames crept down the mountain and into a strong wind.
When we camped in a peach orchard in Keremeos, we were concerned that the fire might sweep down the mountainside and cause us to have to evacuate. Our host assured us that it was unlikely that the fire would reach us, but she did explain that if an evacuation was necessary that a neighbour had already been designated as the one to spread the alarm door to door.

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