Where There’s Smoke….

They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but I’m learning that even where there’s no fire, there’s smoke.

The rising sun glowed red through the smoke haze that drifted in and settled over the lower mainland of British Columbia. Wildfires continue to burn  hundreds of miles away, in the BC interior, but the smoke has arrived in Vancouver and also across the water on Vancouver Island. I’ve heard reports of it spreading south past Seattle.

My usual view of the bay and the hills on the farther side is now screened with a smoky veil. I took some pictures of the Comox Glacier today and could barely see it.

First I’d like to show you  photos of the glacier taken quite a long time ago on a normal day, even with a few clouds. Now, below, are today’s photos, taken on a cloudless day, but with smoke drifting through the region from the wildfires.

 

“Where is the glacier?” you may well ask. If you look hard, you will see it there behind the smokescreen.

The air smells like a campfire minus the hot dogs and marshmallows. It’s hard to find a refreshing lungful of clean air. Eyes, nose, mouth, and throat are dry, dry, dry. Add to this the extreme heat and drought, and it is a miserable state of affairs.

Here is the view of the estuary. If it were winter, you might think it’s a normal misty winter day on the coast, but it’s the beginning of August. That sky should be blue, and so should the water. That haze is not mist, but smoke.

Summer is supposed to be a time for camping, tenting, swimming, fishing, barbecuing, and sitting around a campfire at night. The extreme fire hazard puts the idea of summer camping fun in a different light. The simple act of striking a match has the potential to destroy whole communities. Hundreds of little animals (and this year, even many large animals) have died trying in vain to escape the fires.

Please be careful when you are camping or even just out walking. If you are a smoker, please be mindful of what you do with your cigarette butts, or even the ashes that fall from the cigarette. The vegetation is tinder dry.

This past spring when it continued to be wet and cold, I wished for warm, dry weather and I remember saying that when it finally happens we’ll wish for rain. And here we are!

I am now wishing for rain.

51 thoughts on “Where There’s Smoke….

  1. John

    You have a fabulous view from home Anneli! I hope the rains will come and assist those working to stop the fires. And soon. The smokey view reminds me of when we have our Wind Storms as some of us here call them here in Las Vegas. More common during the winter months, they can actually blot out any view of the mountains in any direction. Blowing sand and dust makes a real mess!

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Blowing sand and dust would be really awful. I saw a show once about the dust storms they used to have in the US prairies. Terrible things! Mud lung, I think they called it, when they died from breathing it.

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      1. John

        Usually your car stays clean for a week or more but the dust trashes a clean car. And it gets in my apartment too! I’ve never heard of the term mud lung but it makes good sense. That would have been horrible to live through.

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        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          I think a lot of those ranchers that lived in lonely places in the mid-west died of the mud lung problem when they had those dust storms. It seems to have become a problem after the natural prairie was cultivated and the soil lay exposed to the wind.

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  2. Pit

    Hopefully it’ll clear soon. Here in southern Texas [more in our old place south of San Antonioe than here in the Hill Country] we sometimes have smoke in the air from deliberate burns in Mexico.

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          1. Pit

            It always depends, mostly on the wind direction, of course.. Sometimes we don’t notice much. Sometimes it’s more. And as I said, mucxh less here in the Hill Country than further south.

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  3. montucky

    I certainly share your wish for rain. Scenery in my area looks very much like it does in your area with all of the smoke. I think we may be even exchanging some of the smoke. I’m not convinced that any of the “experts” even know for sure where the smoke comes from, but it’s present!

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      That’s true. They know the general direction of the smoke but who knows what happens up there in the thinner air. We maybe be inhaling American smoke and you may be inhaling apologetic Canadian smoke.

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      1. montucky

        Here in western Montana we share a lot of things with you. The copyright for my favorite book on plants (“Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest”) is held by the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing. It gives excellent information on nearly all of the plants that I find in this region and is used as a textbook in classes at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Oh yes, they have been fighting these fires very hard for weeks. The weather and sometimes the terrain has been against them, and just when they think they’re winning, lightning strikes start several new fires.They had over 200 fires burning at one time, they got several of them under control, but there were well over 100 still burning last I heard.

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  4. lorigreer

    We are experiencing the smoke from these fires in Portland. In fact, we are supposed to stay indoors especially if we have asthma. I have seen people wearing face maks. This is such a terrible event for everyone. I hope the rains come soon. Take care, Lori

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  5. Dina

    The views you have are very impressive, Anneli. Absolutely gorgeous. Sadly, it’s breathtaking in the negative sense. Clanmother Rebecca Budd posted a similar photo from Vancouver this morning. Gosh, I do hope you get some rain very soon. My heart goes out to you all and the brave firefighters. 💕

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  6. debiriley

    great post, and wonderful photos Anneli. its a good reminder too for all of us to be aware of fire hazards…. to not be careless. the PacNW rains would help dampen down the worst of it and those rains will come. glad the heli pilot was safe!! cheers, Debi

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I think our climate has become one of extremes over the last few years. We used to have a few sunny days, then some rain, then sun and more rain. Now it’s all or nothing. Long wet, cold winters, and long hot, dry summers. Not good on either end of the spectrum.

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  7. Ursula

    Great view from your place! But this smoke is really awful. I wish BC and others which need it a lot of rain for a few days. Here we have fire-warnings out since days and could use some heavy rains too. I am so sorry for all the people and animals that have to suffer from those fires!

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  8. Cecilia

    What a great place you are living! So beautiful! I just hope and wish the fires will be over soon. Having lived in New Mexico for many years I know how it is to live with forest fires in summer. My best wishes to you!

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  9. Lori

    God you live among some majestic scenery. I can’t imagine living in such surroundings. I would love to visit there someday.

    Regarding the smoke, I’ve experienced that dry, smokey air. In Florida, the dry season was January to June. Forest fires were inevitable. I remember them being really far away but the smoke still reached us the way they’ve reached you. My eyes would water.

    It’s so strange, here in the midwest today it’s actually cold out! We need a jacket. Gray skies, breezy and misty. I’m loving it.

    Hope it rains for you soon.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I was just hearing on the news that the Chicago area had lots of rain. I’m SO envious!! But you’re right about the smoke. It’s amazing how far it drifts. Today is not a good day for air quality. I’ve never seen it this bad here in all the many, many years I’ve lived here. You really should visit the coast someday. You can find this kind of scenery anywhere along the west coast – probably the east coast too. Thanks for the rain dance.

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  10. Luanne

    So scary. I’ve heard it’s very very bad. Your photos are excellent, but I am glad I am not there right now. Although last night we had a monsoon that closed down the zoo and took 3 telephone poles down on a street around here and laid them on three houses!

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  11. reocochran

    The smoke covering your glacier and estuary makes me sad! I do understand the way smoke burns nostrils and covers things up. Thanks for sharing detailed photos and descriptions. I’ll do another “rain dance” since it worked out for your part of the country up where you live! 🌧⛈💧

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