Wildfires have made this summer a hazardous and harrowing time for everyone in central and southern British Columbia. The small town of Ashcroft is very close to my heart and my thoughts are with good friends and acquaintances there.
It’s hard to write about fire without thinking of the sudden, brutal tragedy of Grenfell Tower. That is urban fire danger at its worst, with all the implications for a political system that dumps human beings in high-rise ghettos.
Ashcroft and whole swathes of BC have had two months of rural wildfires: unpredictable outbreaks that move erratically around terrain that is difficult for firefighters to work in. Wildfires in hot, desert areas like central southern BC create an attritional backdrop of all-enveloping smoke, widespread ash deposits and 24:7 foul air.
Some fifty thousand people have had to be evacuated so far, and nearly one thousand separate fires have been identified.
The vast Cariboo country to the north of Ashcroft is less of a desert landscape but has more forests. Many of the fires have taken hold in the Cariboo and there is no immediate prospect of a change in the weather. Lightning strikes account for most of the blazes and the loss of animal life, both farmed and wild, will be enormous.
I feel a ‘connection of the soul’ to Ashcroft. If you read back to some of the early posts on this blog you’ll get a glimpse of some of the reasons. Mostly it is revealed in Pick Up the Pieces, which you’ll read soon, I hope.
Elemental events leave us feeling powerless. However, I stand with my second home.