BC & Alaska - Forest Fires - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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BC & Alaska - Forest Fires

I follow several back country and RV camping sites and it appears that some folks visiting BC as well as Alaska may not be getting the message that we in BC are on track to having our worst summer of forest fires since records have been kept. Not sure but appears Alaska may be as well.

We have had over 885 fires to date in BC and currently have over 180 burning many of them out of control and spreading fast . We have lost to date over 216,000 Hectors of forest so far and the hot dry weather is expected to continue for awhile yet. Last I heard Alaska has lost a whopping 1.5 million hectors so far this year!

Historically 40% of all forest fires in BC have been caused by humans! We have a couple of small towns as well as many homes currently in danger of being lost to fire! So its not just our forests that are in danger of being lost when people ignore camp fire bans or are sloppy about what they toss onto the ground - ie. glass and plastic bottles, smokes, candy wrappers etc.

We have a BAN ON CAMP FIRES in effect across the entire province! In some areas there is a no outside open flame ban in effect. Please make sure you know what the rules are in the area you are camping.

We love to have people come and see our great province but PLEASE respect the fact you are in a place that is currently in danger of going up in smoke fast!

If your traveling through the province you may want to take note as to the location of current fires as in some cases you may be forced to take an alternative route.

A Website showing the locations of fires currently burning can be found at apps.gov.bc.ca BC Active Wildfires Map.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:15 PM   #2
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When we were in Alaska there were many fires burning and few where they attempt to control them. Practically all were started by lightening and they just let most burn themselves out. Only 15% of Alaska forest fires are being managed this June; you might say nature's way.

Our son was in Forks, WA, the rain forest town, for the weekend, no fireworks display due to the dryness. The locals told him to go up the road to the Indian reservation and see their display. People bring lunches and settle on the reservations marvelous beach. They were told it rivaled Seattle's display. They went and it was all true. It was still going on after an hour. They were speaking with a reservation member and he said that they buy special fireworks for the bulk of the display but as the night goes on they use up what they haven't sold. It often goes on for hours. Our son left after the first hour.
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Old 07-07-2015, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
When we were in Alaska there were many fires burning and few where they attempt to control them. Practically all were started by lightening and they just let most burn themselves out. Only 15% of Alaska forest fires are being managed this June; you might say nature's way.

.
Many years ago before the province of BC became as developed as it is it was also pretty common for little to be done to stop a fire as well. Instead they would simple build a fire wall and hope it would reach it and burn out. Now as the province is much more developed there is a far great chance a fire will damage homes and towns, unlike Alaska where so much of the state is still not assessable by road so little property damage will take place if a fire is allowed to continue to burn.

We do not have unlimited resources to fight forest fires in BC - only so many water bombers & fire retardant dropping planes to go around, so an assessment is made of what fires are burning and which have the potential to cause the most property damage and resources are allocated accordingly. So the ones located further from developed areas will get the lest amount of resources and continue to burn & often ending up being the largest of the fires.

Yes mother nature does start her fair share of fires but sadly statistics over the years have shown that on average year 40% of all BC forest fires are started by people. Its already been confirmed that some of the fires currently burning were caused by humans - one of them being one of the larger fires just north of Whistler and it was caused by campers.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:01 PM   #4
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I agree Carol, so many of Alaska's fires are just unreachable. In the east, except for maybe Maine, forest fires are not too large.

"New Hampshire experiences about 250 wildland fires each year, which burn an average of 250 acres."

Maine 595 fires averaging 912 acres a year (10 year average).
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:08 PM   #5
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The fires in Alaska have been bad this year but not the worst on record. I was a little worried on July 4th that some idiot would make it worse by setting off illegal fireworks somewhere around Anchorage where I am. But as luck would have it, it rained on the 4th.

Bad for watching professional firework displays, but good for keeping human-caused fires in check. I had to work that day anyway.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:45 PM   #6
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On June 15 of this year we were on a train going from Anchorage to Denali National Park and we had a three hour delay because of a forest fire. They turned the AC off for over an hour so we wouldn't suck in smoke, and the glass-domed cars soon became uncomfortably hot. We didn't see any flames, just a lot of smoke and several firefighters along the tracks.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:01 PM   #7
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Hi Ray,

I am a conductor on the Alaska Railroad, although I mostly work on freight trains. You got stuck in the middle of the Sockeye fire near Willow, AK, which had a major impact on railroad freight and passenger operations for a couple of weeks, with the ripples continuing even now.

The whole time, things affecting the railroad were constantly evolving and decisions being made were often changed rapidly. I'm surprised any of our trains got through at all during a couple of the worst days.

Sockeye Fire update, July 6 | AK Fire Info

I hope that in spite of the inconvenience you enjoyed your stay in Alaska. We sure hate to disappoint our passenger customers but here in the Last Frontier, anything can happen and the conditions are often extreme. We do our best to keep things moving and everyone safe though.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:32 PM   #8
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The whole Pacific Northwest is dry, and campfire bans are in effect in most areas, except for a few campgrounds. We've got a lot of summer left to go yet. This fire season is very early.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:49 AM   #9
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Come our way instead! The high country of AZ is green and wet this year. Dry winter, but wet spring and early monsoons. Going fishing today.

I know what CA and the PNW are going through. We have had our share of extreme fire seasons in past years. This is the first year in a long time we didn't have a June campfire ban in the national forests in the northern part of the state.

While the majority of fires are usually lightening-caused, the biggest and most devastating are almost always human-caused.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:18 AM   #10
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Carol, thanks for the update on BC fires. It never hurts to remind people to be careful out there. Most of us are aware of the danger of campfires, tossing cigarette butts out the window, etc., but few people probably think about glass, candy wrappers, and foil. Washington has had its share of fires this summer with several homes being lost to wildfires in Wenatchee. I just hope this season will not be worse than last year, although given the conditions of the forests it's hard to see how we can prevent it from being a really bad year.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:55 AM   #11
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Clear Plastic can also cause fires, even the base of a plastic wine glass left on a picnic table.
Here's an old photo taken in BC in 1952. Photo credit: Martha Thomas
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:29 PM   #12
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Alberta & Saskatchewan too

fires are raging in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba too.
We had smoky haze low to the ground here in Eastern Iowa from those fires.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:02 PM   #13
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They are saying that the smoke from the fires in the western provinces of Canada is now being seen as far east as Toronto.

The army has moved into help Saskatchewan out so they are busy so we in BC have recruited some fire fighters from various parts of the world to come & help us out.

The smoke & ash over and around Vancouver was not to bad yesterday but it defiantly getting bad again this afternoon. We have been told to keep children and elderly inside due to the poor air quality and to put better filters on our AC systems ..... only problem is most of us in the lower mainland section of BC do not have AC and when its in the mid to high 80's with windows closed it gets just a tab warm!

Was looking forward to starting my slow trip down to the meet in Bandon shortly for the cooler and cleaner air but now a little concerned as this morning two fires where found on the mountain that I live at the base of. Good news is they were close enough to the main roads so our local fire department put them out fast but the bad news is it appears they were purposely set. So a little nerves about leaving now.... Good news is the trailer will be saved if there is a problem while gone!

The picture was taken last Friday by NASA of the South West of BC... as you can see the smoke was heading over Washington state as well. Under that smoke is what we call the Lower Mainland of BC - which includes the City of Vancouver. The southern half of Vancouver Island is also hiding under the smoke.
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