Drought in a Rainforest

IMG_2326It has now been almost a week since someone’s campfire burned out of control and a forest fire began here on the Sunshine Coast. As of the most recent report, the fire is 250 hectares and 40% contained.

Sunday morning the wind shifted and we woke to smoke and ashes in the sky all along the Coast. I woke up in a panic, the room an eery orange. The mornings around here are usually full of bird sounds, the odd chirp from a squirrel, the dogs next door barking. But Sunday morning was perfectly quiet and still.

This was our view:


Everything outside had a thing layer of ash over it.

From our bedroom window.
From our bedroom window.

There are currently more than 100 fires burning in British Columbia, so our air quality is a result of our own forest fire but also those on Vancouver Island and near Whistler. The forest fire here is not even close to being the largest.

Since Sunday we’ve been under an air quality advisory, a warning to avoid unnecessary time outdoors. Our local hospital is full of those suffering from respiratory illnesses. Pearl and I have been on lock down since Sunday afternoon. Since she’s still so little, we are keeping Pearl and her tiny lungs indoors, windows shut.

Although it looks cloudy and foggy outside, it’s hot out. And it’s hot in our house without fresh air circulating. We’re all having trouble sleeping around here and last night I let Pearl sleep unswaddled since she was waking up every hour in a sweat anyway. This at least let her and I sleep for a couple of hours at a time, until she would stretch or startle herself awake again. (And six hours of sleep in two hour chunks is not the same as six hours of uninterrupted sleep.)

Setting sun two nights ago.
Setting sun two nights ago.

But I know I can’t complain. Although it might look like the end of the world out there, it’s not. We’re safe where we are and the fire is moving away from the town. Tragically, there has already been a life lost in the fight against this fire. People have had to evacuate their homes. There are men and women out there right now fighting this fire, my brother-in-law among them. Our community is grateful. If uninterrupted and sweaty sleep is the worst I have to deal with, I am very fortunate indeed.

Clearer but still hazy skies yesterday morning:


Forecast calls for rain this weekend. We’ll be thankful for it when it comes.

3 thoughts on “Drought in a Rainforest”

  1. Glad to hear you’re all safe! Those pictures are amazingly terrifying – they really give an idea of how eerie and unsettling it all must be. I hope it clears soon.

    1. It’s definitely eerie! Last night we spotted some blue skies above us and the forecast says we should get some rain this weekend. Never has our region been so excited for rain!

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