It's been a very dry year for British Columbia. There's very little snow pack up in the mountains and the lower mainland is already running out of water in our natural reservoirs. A heat wave has been scouring the province for several weeks now, creating a huge fire risk throughout our forests.
There are currently 197 fires burning throughout British Columbia, with about 30 expected to ignite each day. There was even a short-lived forest fire up on campus due to a lit cigarette. It seems nature is a tinderbox right now.
Normally the effect of large fires don't immediately impact Vancouver and it's surrounding cities. However, smoke was recently pushed into the lower mainland by changing wind conditions. I was out of the province for the worst of it, but I saw pictures of Vancouver shrouded in smoke. An air quality advisory was put in place due to all the smoke and ash.
I flew into Vancouver on Wednesday night, and even by then I could still see signs of the forest fires.
What may look like a dark rain cloud is actually a thick blanket of smoke. As we got closer to Vancouver, the plane descended and I realized the gloomy reality.
When I first landed in Vancouver I could smell the smoke. It was so strange walking around in the gloom when I had just been above it all and knew that the sun was shining brightly.
Today was the first day the smoke started clearing. There was a little bit of rain this morning and the wind direction changed. The air quality advisory has been lifted, and the forecasts say it might rain this weekend. Let's hope! If there's one thing our forests need it would be some long awaited water.