The wildfires that are part of the usual cycle of the Canadian summer have been ravaging much larger areas than usual. One of the most recent, and devastating, blazes in the north of West Kelowna has burned houses and forced evactuation orders. At around 1am on Friday morning over 260 homes and 2000 residents being given evacuation orders. That number is still rising. .
The fire, which was covering an area of roughly 11km squared grew overnight to 68km squared. Since then the fire has made its way over the Okanagan Lake and into Lake Country, BC. The persistently dry summer and lack of the interiors usual rainy season has created the perfect conditions for the spread of the blaze. High winds last night stoked and spread the fire and officials are saying preparing for another scary night tonight. West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said, "We've fought 100 years of fires in one night," whilst urging people not to panic, to listen to evacuation orders and stressed the quality of the team under his comand.
Kelowna is home to many members of our ski community with access to Big White, Silverstar and Crystal Mountain as well as fantastic summer activities. It is heartbreaking to see the effects of these ever increasing with the warming of the planet. With wildfires reaching further than usual in Canada and many other devastating fire sweeping across Europe and Hawaii it really is a sobering reminder of what we are facing.
Provincial officaials have further warned that the Vancouver Island, Southwest BC and the Kamloops area are at risk with dry-lightening strikes moving are predicted to hit the tinder-dry area. Provincial officials have warned British Columbians to be on high alert and be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
Be prepared with a full tank of gas, some non-perishable foods and a supply of clothing in case the fire spreads through your area. Linked below are resources to donate to the efforts and further sources of ongoing up-to-date information on the rapidly changing situation.