Aug 22, 2016

Fire, smoke & more fire

I really can’t remember the exact time but sometime around 11:45AM yesterday, I looked out the window and down the street.  At first I thought I saw some very light wisps of smoke in the distance but decided that my eyes just needed an adjustment from being at the computer.  About 10 – 15 minutes later I looked out again. I am trying to get up every 15 – 30 minutes and walk around a bit in order to keep my back from getting sore.

This is what I saw.....

This is what I saw, the end of our street and the one beyond so 2 short blocks away.

First thing I did was to call the front office.  After about 18 rings the phone was answered.  I asked if we should evacuate.  The girl at the end of the phone told me that the fire department had been called ( I still could not hear any sirens ).  I asked again if we should evacuate, she finally answered that she did not know 😯   She was unable to get in touch with management!  I told her that they were all on the golf course for a tournament and to send someone there on a golf cart.

Things were looking worse. I called Colin who was on his way home. He and I both made a decision.

Things were looking worse. I called Colin who was on his way home. He and I both made a decision.

It was obvious to me that the fire was just behind our park on the soon to be ‘rail trail’.  The rail line had been pulled out this spring but the creosote rail ties were laying along the path.  Who knew how long it would take for the fire department to actually get water on the fire, access was difficult and I knew that with our dry conditions, dry brush along the trail not to mention the rail ties, it was time for me to go.

I decided to evacuate and started to load the car with Colin’s cameras, his latest hard drive, the laptop and the girls.  Meanwhile a few other neighbors were leaving in their golf carts as well as a few in their cars and heading to the front office.  It took about 15 – 20 minute to load the car.

THis was the last shot I took before I looked the door. It was then that I heard sirens.

This was the last shot I took before I locked the door to the house. It was then that I heard sirens.  It took a very long time for the fire trucks to show up.  Meanwhile Colin could see the smoke from the other side of downtown Kelowna.  He was concerned.

I had already planned where to meet Colin outside of the park and proceeded to leave and to meet with him.  Besides, who knew how bad the fire was and how long it would take to tame the flames.  As I exited the park there were many gathering to watch the fire which was just outside the compound where our RV’s are stored as well as several storage units.  I met up with Colin and we moved a few miles away and gathered in one car.  Right away I realized that I had forgot to take a hat to keep the sun off my face nor did I take any food for the girls.  I did have water and granola bars.  Clearly I need to make a proper evacuation list.  Clearly the park needs a better way to communicate re whether we should evacuate or not.  There is a clear procedure on how to get out of the park, three different routes, but not on how to tell us to go or not.  Fortunately there is a management meeting in a few weeks and I will be sure that this is discussed and resolved.  There are over 540 units here in the park which means many many people.  As I left I saw vacationing folks enjoying the pools but who would tell them if they had to leave.  Personally I did what was right for us and that is all that is important.

Colin and I and the girls went in my car to check out the fire form the other side of the tracks.

Colin and I and the girls went in my car to check out the fire from the other side of the tracks.  On the bottom right of this photo is a pile of rail ties.

It looks like it was a grass fire ( ???? caused by a tossed butt ) that spread to the rail ties.

It looks like it was a grass fire ( ???? caused by a tossed butt ) that spread to the rail ties.

I am glad that I left as a just in case.  It is never wrong to be prepared and to act in what one believes to be the correct thing to do.  Between the two of us we had everything back in the house in no time.  It certainly was not my plan for those few hours but time well spent in the just in case scenario.

As the dinner hour came and went the wind picked up.  Our TV is on a swivel and the wind turned it almost 180 😯   Strong, strong winds.  During the middle of the night I became aware of smoke.  I got up to check that the rail ties had not flared up.  They had not but I suspected there was a new fire somewhere near.

However just before 11 PM a fire started jsut acorss the lake

Just before 11 PM a fire started across the lake.  So strange that today is the 13th anniversary of the big fire as we call it.  We along with several other RV’s evacuated the evening of August 21st, 2003.  We had taken possession of our site that very day.  We will never forget the sight of the fire coming along the mountain to us.  Hence our healthy respect for fire.

Folks were rousted from their sleep at Bear Creek Provincial Park last night and with no notice nor time to pack anything they were evacuated on foot.  Also campers at Fintry Provincial Park run by fellow bloggers Teresa and Derek were evacuated due to falling trees on RV’s caused by the strong winds.  The same winds that were fueling the Bear Creek fire which at the moment is 30% contained with 52 hectares burned.

This morning much chaos was found around Kelowna, all due to those heavy winds that did gust up to 70km/h.  The yacht club reports close to 200 boats with damage as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars damage to the docks themselves.

Crushed jet skies.

Sea- Doos thrashed about and splintered.

Even a float plane was thrashed. sadly this is the one Colin is supposed to use to do some arerials next week.

Even a float plane was thrashed.  Sadly this is the one Colin is supposed to use to do some aerials in next week.  We really feel for the owner.

It has been a horrific 24 hours in this area.  There is even a structure that was blown off a high hill called The Bluff where rock bands used to perform years ago.  Fortunately we had heavy rain for a few hours this morning, cooler temps and showers the rest of the day.  It has helped with the fire.  There were also fires in a few other ares of the Okanagan last evening.  Not a fun way to end the summer.

Rather strange that our first day of ownership here in the park, 13 years ago would result in evacuation, only to be repeated yesterday.

 

 

 

 

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Fire, smoke & more fire”

  1. rae says:

    WOW.

    I’m with you. Get out while you can. Authorities can be stupidly slow to give the order to move and then you get traffic jams.

  2. George Yates says:

    Good idea to pack up and go. that was a rehearsal, maybe time to make a checklist for important items to take if you can.
    Better safe than sorry.

  3. Sandie says:

    I would also be evacuating. I’m a much better safe than sorry person. And it also gave you a good idea of what you need to have ready to take with you. Terrible storms.

  4. I cannot believe how dense smokers are – extreme dry conditions and tons of fires and they are still throwing butts out the window. So glad they got it out. You grabbed pretty much what we would of – things to make sure the business can keep going (computers) and the dog. Everything else can be replaced. How fast could you get your motorhome from storage if you wanted to? Just a thought.

  5. Despite everything you got out with your important stuff. Well done! Mother nature is a fickle lady, and smokers who toss their butts out the window are facing increasingly heavier fines… But some are just too ignorant.

  6. Colleen says:

    Glad you are all okay and smart enough to evacuate when needed.

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