Fire update with photos

Well the fire crews seem to be winning today. The wind direction has helped a lot. It changed dramatically from yesterday and has been driving the fire south and down a narrow valley away from the Bella Coola Valley since early this morning. In addition, the Province has sent us in about 20 more fire-fighters, an additional helicopter with the water bucket, and the ‘big gun’–the Air Crane, which is a huge helicopter that can drop about 500 gallons of water each drop. It has been amazing to watch the crews working but the Air Crane at work takes the cake in terms of magnitude. I managed to get right down to the river where he was working and watched him draw the water and head back to the fire several times–man’s inventions are truly remarkable. If we had several of these machines working together we’d be in good shape in no time.

In the shot below, the Air Crane is dropping water on the fire. Although a huge machine, it still looks minuscule in comparison to the task at hand! (He is just above the treeline at the centre of the photo.)

View of the fire with the airport runway in the foreground.

View of the fire with the airport runway in the foreground.

The east side of Nuxalk Mountain ablaze.

The east side of Nuxalk Mountain ablaze; the Air Crain above the airplane hangar on the left hand side of the photo.

The draw that the fire is moving up is also our watershed. Many are worried that it will cross the Snootli river (which hails from this draw) and then threaten more houses on the south side of the valley. Thanks to this morning’s prominent winds, I no longer think this is a big concern at the moment. I won’t go as far as to say everything is fine today, but I am certainly much less worried than the past few days.

One of the things we have going for us is the steep terrain. The fire actually has to work to keep itself going. As you can see in the above photo, the face of the Nuxalk Mountain is mostly granite. Also, because of the many valleys (draws) that run north/south along our east/west valley, there are opportunities for it to move away from us as it seems to be doing today. Unlike say an Australian situation where the lay of the land is much less steep and thus can rage and move with extreme agility and frightening speed, here the fire should have much more difficulty taking hold in the bottom of the valley as it has a tendency to go up the side of a mountain instead of down. Of course, if it did we’d certainly be in a lot of trouble!

Another thing we have going for us is the amount of water around to draw from. In many other areas of the country we tend to rely upon fire retardant and gel, whereas here we can rely on water and draw from the many rivers that populate the province. As you can see from the photos, the river is a very short distance to the fire. The photo below shows the airport runway in the foreground and I am standing at the river edge while taking the photo.

Looking west towards the worst threat in the valley, the west side of the mountian where the wind was pushing the fire yesterday and threatening people's houses and forcing them to evacuate.

Looking west towards the worst threat in the valley, the west side of the mountain where the wind was pushing the fire yesterday and threatening people's houses and forcing them to evacuate. That is our airport runway in the foreground.

Air Crane headed back to drop water.

Air Crane headed back to drop water.

Air Crane coming in to fill up at the river.

Air Crane heading back to fire having just filled up at the river.

Here is a link to more photos of the fire by my friend Mike: Michael Wigle photographs. Here is a link to the Central Coast Regional District fire update page.

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7 Comments

Filed under Agriforestry, Wildfires

7 responses to “Fire update with photos

  1. WOW amazing report, good to hear your OK.
    SBW

  2. Phew, obviously the danger hasn’t left you completely but I hope that happens soon. The photos of the Air Crane are incredible – but not nearly as incredible as the work its doing.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and all the residents of Bella Coola. Keep us updated!

  3. I just found your blog. It is hard to describe seeing such beautiful scenery in the mist of something so frightening !
    The little goat on your header looks like our little “skunk faced goaty” Nibbles.
    I hope you all stay safe.

  4. Wow, scary stuff. I’m glad to hear that you are doing ok and that the fire is not getting worse, for you, at the moment. The smoke from the B.C. fires has been clouding our sky of late, it sounds like a really bad one. Take care.

  5. Ruth

    So glad you are all right! Glad too that you are in touch with Rebecca.
    We have had a lot of smoke in our Mabel Lake valley as well, but, touch wood, no fires!
    Keep safe!

    • Hey Ruth!

      Yep, the whole province is covered in smoke. I just flew to Vancouver and back and there is smoke all the way and beyond! It was the best of summers and the worst of summers it seems!

  6. Aha, brilliant –

    so you made it to Vancouver after all – hope you all (especially the happy couple!) had a wonderful day. Lawdy, all that smoke….only thing I’d say is please Ruth, DON’T “touch wood” if you have a lightning touch – couldn’t bear to lose our HDR buddies coz all the wood being touched around them, seems to be going up in smoke!! 😉

    Mostly sunshine here although with a little light rain at times. We’ve been hard at work, at the wonderful seaside Aberaeron Festival of the Welsh Cob today; but did at least get to see some of the most wonderful, inspiring horses imaginable.

    Ahhhh, the way such world-class, superb stallions strut….well; they looked just as like ancient, classical marble statues transformed into flesh; as if they’d stormed from the Parthenon Frieze itself, transforming into the ultimate in equine muscular magnificence & beauty, imaginable. Amazing!

    J, T + FfF menagerie xxx

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