LAST WEEK, DURING a drive from Vancouver, we took a short break in Hope. It was almost 10 o’clock at night and the fire near Agassiz was raging, mountain aglow and the plume above it a threatening dark grey.
As we got out of the car, the air was thick with heavy, grey smoke. Though far enough from the fire, the smell was overwhelming. I could not imagine what it would be like to be right there, gear on, tools and everything, fighting this hot monster up close. Or the rest of the almost 600 fires across the province.
Through my husband’s deployment experiences during the time he worked closely with wildland firefighters, I got to hear many stories that started with ‘smoke so thick…’ and ‘flames coming from both sides of the road…’ and of course, stories of the camps that firefighting personnel had set up near the fires.