Fire update

Because of the heat we are enduring and a cold front coming in tomorrow,  we are in a perfect storm for fires, so say the officials.

Easy yesterday Dianne and her husband were driving east in their RV. This was taken in the Winfield area, a glimpse of what was to come.

Taken yesterday afternoon from our patio. The smoke was so thick that we could barely see the lake.

“The BC Wildfire Service’s top official did not mince words during Thursday’s press conference: “This weather event has the potential to be most challenging 24 to 48 hours of the summer from a fire perspective. We are expecting significant growth and we are expecting our resources to be challenged from north to south.”

The forecast in B.C. is calling for a potential “perfect storm” for wildfires over the next couple of days, with expected dry lightning and strong, erratic winds, on top of the already bone-dry conditions across much of the province.

BC Wildfire Service director Cliff Chapman said this weather event is unique in that it will have a provincewide impact. But he noted the southern half of the province, including the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres, will be most susceptible.

“The conditions out in the forests are very primed to see significant fire growth and to see new fires challenge our suppression efforts,” Chapman said.

After a high pressure system has sat over much of the province for the past several days, driving temperatures up to the high 30s, a cold front will make its way down through B.C. from the northwest throughout the day Thursday. While the cold front will cool down temperatures to the high 20s, the transition is expected to bring strong, erratic winds, gusting to speeds of 70 km/h, along with dry lightning.”

Taken about 4PM this afternoon after Colin ran a few errands. One of the things he picked up was the purchase of a new anode rod for the RV – just in case we have to head out of town sooner than we expected.

I can’t even keep track where all the fires are right now. Enough to say that three of them began issuing evacuation orders a few hours ago, over 2500 people have been evacuated and another 4,500 homes are on evacuation alert. There is one very active fire south of us, two to the east and a huge one directly behind us.  Some of the other fires have evacuation orders and alerts. We are in no danger whatsoever but that can change in an instant. The fire behind us is sending out much ash including blackened leaves, pinecone needles and small pieces of wood. Over the past few hours the winds have increased as promised. Going outside feels like walking into a hot oven. Hopefully no hot embers will find their way here.

Some of the ash falling today.

It was a complete leaf blacked by the fire until I picked it up and it broke in half.

Today we are seeing things we never have before, different colours on the lake as well as different shaped clouds and formations. The sun has reflected into the lake the past few hours over and over with some sparkly but various colours. They sky has changed over and over. We have seen many fires in our 20 years here, but this is a big one and perhaps because of the ‘perfect storm’ we are seeing new things. Already we have seen the winds shift. I just went out to take a photo of a strange cloud formation and I could actually smell trees burning 😥

The winds have started to pick up. The fire is very slowly moving to the north.

The wind blew over my laundry. It was fine once I shook out all of the ash.

What we are seeing is upsetting but they say that tomorrow will be worse as the winds will shift and move towards West Kelowna. This is week is the 20th anniversary of the huge 2003 fire, many homes were lost. The day we took possession of our second site  here in the park ( we were in the RV ) we were aware of fires to the west and south of us. By dusk they were not too far from us, in the south. Many were gettting their RV’s ready to evacuate. A fireman friend had his 5th wheel permanently skirted. He took it all off and hooked up. That was our signal to prepare to leave. We were never officially evacuated but many of us left the park. I drove the car behind our RV, we did not want take the time to hook up but we had walkie talkies. We ended up at the Walmart in Vernon. We know for certain that a miracle took place. There was little to no rain in the forecast but just where the fire had begun to get close to our area there was a cloud burst and the fire slowed right down 😮

As the winds picked, up the fire got wider – larger.

Today the fire was in the hills above Bear Creek Provincial Park. The park was on evacuation alert. Our friends S & B are park managers there. This was not their first brush with fires in the area. The RVers all left and they brought up the rear and closed the gate so to speak. They are rather unsettled tonight, as this week is the 20th anniversary almost to the day that they lost their home to the 2003 fire. And now today they had to evacuate with their only home which happens to be on wheels. S also writes a blog and you can follow her thoughts by clicking here.

Dark cloud of ash passing over our house.

In other news Hurricane Hilary will be passing by Mazatlan on its way south to Cabo San Lucas and sending some weather towards the Isla. I am not going to worry about that until later tomorrow. Just learned that the rains have already begun.

We called some friends in Guadalajara this evening who were also living in smoke. Apparently some developers in the city were setting fire to trees and vegetation so that they had clear ground to build on. Against the law, but it is Mexico 😯

I had another update but I will deal with that in the next post. I had no idea that this post would grow as it has.

Photo taken by a friend up in the Mission looking towards downtown Kelowna, about 5PM. I feel for the people in the path of the fire. The daughter of one of our neighbours packed up and left about 9:30PM tonight, She lives halfway between the fire and the lake. She was not under an evacuation order but she is a very smart lady.

I have more photos but it is almost 10PM and we need to have dinner. Hopefully the rest of the story tomorrow.

The fire is definitely approaching Kelowna. You can see how wide is has grown.

I have not proofed this, just wrote it, so please excuse spelling and gramma errors.




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9 thoughts on “Fire update

  1. Lucy. says:

    Contessa, all those pictures look so scary. Thinking of U amigos & praying for your wellbeing… let’s hope all fires stop from coming closer to your home. My regards: Lucy.

  2. Jim and Barb says:

    Crazy horrible! Hopefully the winds die down and better yet, it rains.

  3. Jannose says:

    Stay safe!

  4. Sandie says:

    Contessa, your pictures are so scary. I know you are on high alert but my prayers are with you and all our Canadian neighbors. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  5. Barb Mitchell says:

    Hello Contessa, I live in Coldstream (next to Vernon) and just received an email from Al Bossence of the Bayfield Bunch that you may be evacuated. Horrible conditions down there…I’ve been following it on the CORD emergency website. My son-in-law is manager of the Glenmore IGA and he even had trouble getting to work this morning. I think Glenmore road is closed so I don’t think he made it home yet to Vernon.
    Just a quick note to introduce myself (husband and I live alone on 15 acres)…my name’s Barb and husband is Dennis.

    If you need a place to park your RV if/when you’re evacuated, please let me know if you’re heading North.
    I’ll check this daily, perhaps more often, to see if you need help.

  6. Hoping the Rains forecasted from hurricane Hillary, make their way to your neighbourhood.
    Your Blog is not connecting on our sidebar, so I’ll try to reset it and hope it works.
    Just read about the possible residency change. I’ll keep reading.
    Be Safe from those fires, thy can change direction so quickly.

    It’s about time.

  7. Shirley Whitelaw says:

    I especially like the “gramma” errors!
    Yup, as a gramma, I make lots of errors.
    Not because of being a gramma though. Because of an antique brain.

    1. Lucy. says:

      Shirley, that was a good one 😂 😂

  8. Lucy. says:

    Contessa, Colin & girls, I just read that some areas of Kelowna are burning & many people have been ordered to evacuate; my prayers for you 4 hoping U’r all OK. Scary times we’re living, we’re on alert due to Hilary’s advance onto Southern California 😂
    Wishing the very best to U 4: Lucy.

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