the

A bald eagle we spotted at Crescent Beach the other day.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bellingham, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

An interesting day... a bear scare, forest fires, and helicopters

We had delicious bacon and egg breakfast with my cousin Calvin and his wife Brenda, but being a work day they were soon off to the daily grind, leaving us to depart whenever we were ready.

I decided this was a good opportunity to change Sherman's engine oil, so I got everything out and crawled underneath Sherman to drain the oil and change the filter. I was about to screw on the new filter when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and had to do a double take!

It was a bear!

I thought about staying under the motorhome, because he was only about 20 yards behind Sherman's back end. But I figured I could scramble out and make it to the door before he saw me, and I did. In fact, when I got to the door and opened it, he still hadn't seen me. I said to Ruth "come check this out!"...





Sorry the pictures aren't the best. We grabbed the camera so quickly, and it turned out it was on the wrong setting!

Mr. Bear hung around for a good 15 minutes or so, and eventually wandered into the bush. I managed to get the oil change finished while Ruth stood guard watching for the bear with bear spray in hand. We figured he wasn't far off, and about 10 minutes later he came wandering through the front yard again, but headed onto the road out front and we never saw him again.

We then drove the short distance from Burns Lake to Fraser Lake and to my cousin Shannon and her husband Russ's house.

They breed border collies. They sure are friendly pups!

And they run this truck in the mud bog races.
Sure looks like a fun hobby!

Unfortunately, Fraser Lake is forest fire central right now. In fact, Shannon and Russ are on evacuation alert right now and their son and daughter in law have already been evacuated from their place on the other side of the lake.

The Shovel Lake fire is the largest in British Columbia right now, and it's pretty much right in their back yard. There are 194,000 acres burning right now in this fire alone!

There are also hundreds of firefighters from around the world, and all of the equipment that they use.

Yesterday evening, they took us out for a tour to see what there is to see with all of this activity.

Forest fire workers camp.
There are 108 firefighters here from Mexico, as well as crews from Australia and New Zealand.

The smoke makes for some interesting photos.

It was getting near dusk and we had heard that the helicopters were done for the day. Russ knows someone up at the airport, and we got in to see the helicopters, including the huge Erickson S-64 Skycrane!

There are 7 helicopters fighting this fire, however one is used just for operations, logistics, and mapping.

The smaller helicopters use these buckets that carry 600 gallons of water.

The huge Erickson S64 Skycrane.

 Engines!
There are two engines that are 4,500 hp each!

The helicopter hovers above a lake, and the big hose contains a pump that pushes the water up the hose and into the holding tank (where you see the numbers 744). The tank holds 2,650 gallons, but the tank is removable and used in two different models of the helicopter. This particular one is actually the smaller model and it can't lift the tank when it's full. So they will typically only put about 1,500 gallons into the tank. They can fill the tank in less than a minute!

This helicopter uses 500 gallons of fuel per hour. There is a dual tanker truck here that can supply the helicopter for three days before the truck itself has to go to refill in Prince George.

Erickson operates 17 of these aircraft around the world. Besides the pilots, there are also two maintenance engineers that are on the ground waiting to do service work every evening when the Skycrane is done work for the day. These two guys were the ones that we spoke to.

This helicopter's name is Jerry!

The smoke makes for an interesting sunset.

From the airport, we drove over to the lakeshore in the town of Fraser Lake itself. It's the area on the opposite side of the lake that it burning and under evacuation.

The danger lies in whichever way the wind blows! 

Zoomed in on the mountain.

Yikes!

So, scary stuff. There are now over 500 forest fires burning in British Columbia, however this one is the largest. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A big price drop on Camco's Premium RV Wash Brush...


And in Canada...





26 comments:

  1. It seems that every year it gets a little worse. Here in the Cowichan Valley we are at a stage four drought warning. No watering or car washing allowed. The rivers are very low, time for some much needed rain… Chris, our younger son, has been deployed to the Cariboo to help with the fire fighting…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems that if it isn't forest fires that they have to deal with then it is some else like landslides from too much rain. You never know what is going to happen with the weather from one year to the next. This year is definitely a very, very dry year especially for British Columbia. We really hope that they get some much needed rain and soon!

      We hope that your son stays safe out there fighting those fires and tell him thank you for us all for what he is doing!

      Delete
  2. Wow! Love the great bear pix and the shots of all the fire equipment. But I don't think I'd be sticking around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank Doug! We really wish those bear pictures were a little more crisp but when you are trying to take them pretty quick then is is easy to understand why they are quite perfect! ;-)

      We aren't hanging around but unfortunately that smoke is just about everywhere in British Columbia now. It is going to be hard to escape it! :-(

      Delete
  3. I can see how it's a challenge to make sure the camera is on the "bear" setting, but you managed to keep your cool long enough to get some neat pics. Wonder if your hosts realise what kind of visitors they get when they go off to work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe that is why we need a new camera, this one doesn't have that "bear" setting on it! :-P The bear was kind enough to return a few times within an hour or so, which helped to get a couple of better shots, not perfect but workable. It made Kevin pretty nervous though while he tried to finish off with Sherman's oil change.

      Yep, his cousin knows about their visitor, apparently we "lives" just down the hill from them.

      Delete
  4. OK wow ! Great information and pictures of the helicopter and of Mr.Bear. Would not want to be laying under the motorhome when Mr. Bear starts sniffing around the edges! Yikes. Helicopters working out of the local airport here too, but not today, too smoky I guess. Best wishes and good luck to all the wildfire fighters working in B.C. and thank-you !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was neat seeing those helicopters especially that big one. Neither of us has ever seen one like that before and it was pretty cool to see it up close like that. Not happy about the circumstances of why it is here though! :-( It seems that there are getting to be fewer and fewer places to go in British Columbia where you can escape this smoke. We hope that the firefighters can get a handle on these fires soon. It would be really nice to see some rain but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any in the forecast any time soon. :-(

      Everyone around are wishing for the firefighter's safety and so thankful that they are here fighting these fires. People here are doing whatever they can to help them out, bringing them food and helping to look after their needs. It is amazing at times like this how everyone pulls together to help out others any way that they can.

      Delete
  5. Over 560 fires burning as of an hour ago. We are living in an orange haze and if you dare go outside and take a breath it smells like a dirty ashtray. Very scary stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not a good situation here at the moment. British Columbia really needs rain. We know what you mean about the haze and the smell, it is definitely not nice.

      Delete
  6. My best friend lives in Calgary and she has been complaining about their air quality for weeks. If you have asthma, it's hard to breathe. Even if you don't have lung problems, it's like inhaling campfire smoke 24/7 indefinitely. My husband is a retired firefighter and has been following the California fires closely. That sort of firefighting is much different than the type he did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are not surprised at all that your friend is getting smoke from the British Columbia fires! Nope it isn't nice at all having to breathe in this smoke, even the inside of Sherman is smelling smoky and our throats are feeling a little rough. We aren't sure that even when we leave this area that we are going to be able to find some nice clean air but we are hoping that we will even if it is only for a little while.

      I am sure that your husband would find this type of firefighting totally different from how it was done years ago. The equipment that they have now is amazing, yet they still can't seem to get a handle on these fires up here or down in California. We really hope that some rain comes their way and soon.

      Delete
  7. Lots of fire fighting equipment! Bears are everywhere it seems. We have had to abandon our backyard a few times to give the bears space:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, lots of firefighters and equipment, especially in this area!

      We are at Kevin's aunt and uncle's house now and they have had to set up an electric fence around their apple trees because they had a bear up in the tree the other day and if they want to pick the apples from the tree they had to do this to save the apples. Guess that is what you have to deal with when you live in the "country" and up north in bear country. It is just a normal occurance for them. ;-)

      Delete
  8. Rather not be under my vehicle with Bears around.
    The experts are saying that there is more then Three Times the number of Forest Fires this year and we are only Halfway through it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He most likely would have been very safe under the motorhome because there is not enough room for the bear to crawl under there but all the same, Kevin preferred to be IN the motorhome. ;-)

      Yep, that is probably true, they really need the rain and soon!

      Delete
  9. What and interesting day from Bears , to forest fires and amazing helicopters, Glad you are safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's rare we have a boring day! ;-)

      Delete
  10. A 58 Chevy bet it is green under that mud if original.
    Learned on a 57...
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that it was a very light green, so yes it was probably the original colour. The truck looked like it came right out of the movie "Cars"!

      It would be fun to have driven a truck like that. :-)

      Delete
  11. I think the bear was just doing a quality control check of how well you did Sherman's oil change... ;c)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess Kevin passed the test because the bear moved on! ;-)

      Delete
  12. Oh, I hate that BC is burning up, too. So many beautiful acres going up in smoke, leaving a blackened landscape. It's smoky at our house today as well, and, well, the fires and smoke just break my heart. Sorry you're in the thick of it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We hate it too but we have read in many, many places that fire is also good for the forests to have new regrowth and kill bad insects and many other benefits. It is bad though when it hurts people's livelihood and their homes, plus the bad air quality. It is such a shame though that there seem to be so many fires this year. British Columbia and other parts of western Canada and the USA need to have rain, we really hope that it comes and comes soon!

      Delete
  13. So interesting to see the helicopters up close. I've always been curious to know more about those. The water buckets look so little when you see them in action, but they really hold a lot of water.

    Kind of an interesting side effect of all that smoke - someone in a Facebook group mentioned they are up in the Fraser valley, and their chickens have almost stopped laying eggs. They are getting only about 15% of their usual daily eggs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really interesting seeing these helicopters up close, especially the sky crane one, and then being able to talk to the technicians that were working on it. They were really good at asking our questions and we sure had a lot of questions for them. Even up close those buckets looked small, it was really hard to believe that they could hold 600 gallons of water.

      We are not surprised at all the the hens are laying less eggs. The smoke would be affecting their breathing as much as it does us. It is also weird because I believe that animals have an extra sense than we humans do and they can sense danger long before we can, at least that is what I think. ;-)

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...