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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

A Birdseye View of BC

I was finally able to fly to Vancouver to see my mom and family. It has been 1.5 years because of the Covid regulations as mom is in a senior’s home.

I was privileged to have a window seat on the plane going down and I was able to document the smoke and fires over BC with my camera.

The first notable thing was that there was no snow on the Rockies. They still stood majestic but the absence of snow in our year of draught was very noticeable.

I could then start to see a smoke line dividing the province more like a haze but a definite line in the sky. As we got closer to the Okanagan the sky got more and more smoky and seeing anything was hard. In the bottom middle picture, there is a forest fire shooting it’s smoke up to the sky, you can just make out a lake at the bottom of the picture.

Then we got over by Kamloops, and I was shocked to see that I could pinpoint the wildfire in the area because it pushed its way through the smoke to plume up, towering into the sky. That is the large picture on the end. The background of this picture, the coverage of smoke was how most of the province looked and on occasion I could see a forest fire, the hotspots, pushing their way through the smoke. To most it might have simply looked overcast, but I knew it was a smoke-filled province that was burning up underneath. It was eerie.

Vancouver on the day I landed was also smoke covered, but it cleared up for the weekend as the smoke blew inland.

Hotspots. The word has many meanings:

- a small area or region with relatively hot temperatures

- a very hot and dry place where a fire is likely to start or has been burning

- an area of volcanic activity

- a place of significant activity or danger

- a popular place of entertainment

- an area on a computer screen that can be clicked to activate a function

- a public place with available wireless signal

The world has many hotspots right now. We have been living in a hotspot of Covid activity for a long while. Afghanistan is right now a brutal hotspot for people trying to flee the Taliban. The Western provinces have been a hotspot of draught with no significant rain for a long time, hot temperatures and we are in desperate need of rain.

The day I flew out of Vancouver it had started to rain, nothing significant but we did have to use our windshield wipers. We keep praying for rain for our crops, water, forests and our fires. So many evacuations and alerts.

On Sunday as I was out on the ocean in a boat with sunshine and blue skies, my friend sent me this eerie picture of her sky outside her house in Salmon Arm. I saw similar photos online later from Armstrong and surrounding areas. They are surrounded on all sides from different fires, the smoke has been nauseating and thick but that day around 4:00pm the sky changed to this eerie glow and the day got dark. A grim reminder that our world can change in a heartbeat. A sobering thought to remind us that we ought to live our life full, no regrets, pouring ourselves into the lives that matter the most to us while helping others on the way.

As we have seen from forest fires popping up anytime, anywhere, you never know when you might be in need of a little help yourself.

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