Those that know me on here may know that my partner Melanie is from Canada and that we both have a vested interest in our ‘other home’ in Kelowna, British Columbia. It’s the beautiful place where Melanie’s folks chose to spend a happy retirement. Mel’s dad still lives there in that lovely place. It’s been many the occasion of a wonderful visit and it’s environs, whether in the balmy mid-thirties temperatures of a typical summer there or enjoying the ski hills in the vicinity during the wintertime.
Back in 2003, there was a horrific forest fire that became hugely out of control. The Okanagan Mountain Fire as it became known as caused the loss of 239 homes and the evacuation of 45,000 residents of the small city of around just over 100,000 people. Fires jumped across from home to home and ash rained down in the streets like some post-Pompeii apocalypse. The view of the mountains surrounding Kelowna with their bare patches still recalls that time.
Fire-fighters from different provinces and the United States I believe, gathered to manfully fight the great blaze, dumping huge quantities of water from the Okanagan Lake onto the vicious flames. 60 fire departments, 1,400 armed forces troops and 1,000 forest fire fighters were involved and, in the main helpless. Finally nature took a hand or the cost may have been even worse.
Now in 2009 there is a return. West Kelowna has two new fires raging currently. As I write 17,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and many houses destroyed. 150 fire-fighters are working to control the fires and we hope that 2009 does not see a reprise of the devastation of six years ago.
Nature is wonderful thing. It can also be a terrifying force. Good luck to the good people in our ‘other home’ of Kelowna. Please God let us not see 2003 all over again.
Thousands flee Canada wildfires