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Seems there is no escaping the forest fire smoke in British Columbia. Photo taken yesterday around noon.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Prince George, British Columbia.

Where are they going next? Towards Jasper, Alberta.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Forest Fire!

Yesterday, we planned on driving as far as the town of Dease Lake. But at our first stop of the day at Boya Lake Provincial Park, we spoke to the park operator and she said "oh, you won't want to stay in Dease Lake, it will be a zoo". Apparently there was a bad forest fire burning at the nearby community of Telegraph Creek, and that area is under a full evactuation order.

We had all day that we could drive, so we weren't that worried. We stayed at Boya Lake and had breakfast and went for a 3 km (1.9 mile) hike to get the blood flowing.

Boya Lake is one of these crystal clear deep blueish green colored lakes, but unfortunately the sun wasn't shining so the colors weren't at their best.

Boya Lake.

Sherman, parked at the day use area.

Now this is a beaver dam!

View from the beaver dam at Boya Lake Provincial Park.

We continued on south towards Dease Lake. Some nice scenery, but without a blue sky and sunshine it wasn't as spectacular as it could have been.




Heading into the smoke!

We arrived in Dease Lake and it was a zoo. A smoke filled zoo! The air was so thick with forest fire smoke that it felt like you were sitting beside the campfire and the smoke was blowing right in your face. Not nice at all.

Under full evacuation order!

We found the free town wifi at the Northern Lights College. They paste the password on the entrance door and so we could sit in the motorhome and get online for an hour.

We were going to need some fuel, but there was a big lineup at the gas station. I got out and spoke to one guy and he asked if we were going north or south. I replied "south", and he said "well, you'll want to get going before they close the road. The helicopters are doing visibility checks, and they could decide to close the road."

He also told me there was another gas station about 80 kms (50 miles) south at the town of Iskut. I decided we could easily do another 80 kms, so we hit the road south.

Man, the smoke was bad.




As we drove south, we eventually got to an area where the north blowing wind had cleared away some of the smoke, but there were now storm clouds. It was a very eerie sky with the smoke and the storm clouds mixed together!

Wow. Weird!

In the distance, this mountain was in full sunlight! 
You can see the layers of dark clouds above.

We made it to Iskut, and the smoke was gone. Bought gas at $1.59 per liter... it had been $1.61 per liter in Dease Lake. The same price that it had been in Tuktoyaktuk at the Arctic Ocean! I only put in enough to get us to the town of Stewart where I have read that the gas is quite a bit cheaper. I guess we'll see.

By this time, it was almost 5:30pm. We pulled down a dirt road that didn't look well traveled. Another lane went off to the left towards someone's house, and then there was a turnaround at the end of the dirt road. We decided that was a great place to park up for the night.

Half an hour later, an older fellow in an older pickup truck drove up. I got out and spoke to him, and I asked if he lived at the house down the lane. Yep, he does.

He said "I drove over to see who was camping... and, well, it's pretty much private property down here. I've had trouble from people parked here before".

And I said that we didn't see any signs, and I explained that we were just going to park for the night, and we would be gone before 8:00am.

He said that would be fine, but to be honest I don't believe we were parked on his property. Who knows. We slept fine, and we're headed further south today.

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23 comments:

  1. Wow what a spooky sky! Is it orange from the glow of the fires? Must have been close if there was full evacuation. I hope they get it stops before it gets to any housing. Very dramatic photos.

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    1. Yep, it sure was a spooky looking sky!

      We think that perhaps the orange glow might have been from the sun trying to make its way through the smoke but it could also have been from the fire, it is hard to say. Telegraph Creek is about 110km away from Dease Lake and they were the ones being evacuated, many headed to Dease Lake or beyond. Kevin saw on the news yesterday that some buildings have already burned in the Telegraph Creek area so the fire is definitely moving. :-(

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  2. Here's hoping for a safe and uneventful travel day! Big fire ar Nanaimo here, we had smokey air yesterday but today it's better. These fires can double in size overnight. I remember the close call you had in San Miguel near the presa...

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    1. We had no problems with smoke on yesterday's drive, thank goodness. Much clearer and fresher air here in the Stewart-Hyder area. Sorry that you are also having to deal with the smoke, it is not nice to breath, that is for sure. We hope that they can get all these fires under control and quickly.

      Yes, we remember that fire all to well, it is amazing how quickly fires can happen and how fast they can move.

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  3. Oh no! I'm sorry you guys had to endure the smoke! As are we in Nevada City (Northern California). It's not quite as smoky here, but the air is unhealthful to breathe (what the heck else are you going to do with air?). We've been under siege for a long time and it'll continue till they can contain the wildfires. That's the good news. The bad news is the people who've lost loved ones or home and property. We're okay; you're okay. Life is good.

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    1. Nope, the smoke wasn't nice to deal with but at least we could move one. We really feel bad for the people who live in the area. Some have already lost their homes and others have had to leave their homes behind and not know what will happen to them, plus they all have to deal with that smoke, I don't know how they do it, it was bad just driving through.

      Yes, California is also having a really bad time with their wildfires, and unfortunately there are a lot more people there that are losing their homes than here because most of the area here is wilderness. I really hope that they can get all these fires under control. :-(

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  4. That Dease Lake fire is huge, glad you got through there. Great weird sky shot.

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    1. Yes, it is huge! Hopefully they will be able to get it under control. With any luck they will get enough rain in the forecast to help them out with it.

      It was a neat looking sky!

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  5. Safe travels. Despite the overcast and smokiness, the scenery is still very beautiful. Too bad there's fire...hope it rains.

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    1. I was looking for Hyder on highway 37 and couldn't find it. Finally found it on highway 37A. Looks like 37A ends at Wales Island. I was thinking you were still traveling toward Prince George on highway 16. I got lost hahaha

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    2. Yes, the scenery was very pretty but unfortunately there was one large section of scenery that we couldn't see at all because of the smoke. We could see vague outlines of mountains but that was it, so we know that we missed seeing some really beautiful scenery. It did rain some yesterday but it wouldn't have been enough to make any kind of difference with the forest fires.

      We are headed for Price George but we wanted to take the Stewart-Hyder Highway as well. This is just a side trip, once we are finished here we then head back onto the 37 highway and continue heading south.

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  6. That old guy was probably just making sure you weren't party people. Which you clearly aren't. :) Travel safe there's LOTS of fires in BC right now.

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    1. Whaddya mean we aren't party people? I thought we were wild and crazy!!! :-P

      Yes, lots of fires here in British Columbia. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for them and they can start to get a handle on fires.

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  7. Nice that you made it further south before they closed the highway, hopefully clear weather and no more smoke.

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    1. They haven't closed the road yet, but we wanted to head further down the road just in case they did. As of today it is still open.

      We are now in an area where there is clear, fresh air and it is wonderful. Not sure how long that will last though because I believe that we have to go through another area that has a forest fire burning when we head out of the Stewart-Hyder area and start heading further south again.

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  8. Hi guys there appears to be fires all over we are having a few smoky days here as well. Lovely scenery from your drive except for the smoke it would have been spectacular. Keep safe and enjoy your drive through BC. Hopefully some of the other fires will be gone by then. Take care.

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    1. Yes, unfortunately there are quite a lot of fires all around British Columbia. :-( And it may be that we will hit more of them on our way south. With any luck hopefully they will get some much needed rain to help get ahold of these fires. The scenery up here is beautiful, it's a shame that we missed seeing some of it though because of all the smoke.

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  9. Preferred the next days drive ! But you have to take the rough with the smooth and be in situations like this to appreciate how tough it is for some.

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    1. So did we! Is was not enjoyable driving through all that smoke and there was quite a bit of beautiful scenery that we missed because the smoke was so thick. We can't even begin to imagine what it is like for the people living in the area! Unfortunately there is no way to control Mother Nature, providing of course that the majority of fires were started because of lightning strikes which is usually the case. Some people have lost their homes because of this one really big fire. :-(

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  10. Safe travels! Those fires are worrisome! Fantastic pictures though! Iloved it!

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    1. They sure are! Looks like the one near Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and Iskut area may be getting some much needed rain today so hopefully that will help them contain that fire.

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  11. It is really to bad that you couldn't get out to Telegraph Creek, the drive is spectacular, and the people are wonderful, but they have their hands full right now with this fire.

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    1. Yeah, things aren't good there right now. We will have to try and make a return visit under better conditions. We had read that the scenery is fantastic along that stretch of road.

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