We didn’t start the fire

For the past week, my hometown’s been engulfed in a thick hazy smog.

No, we didn’t pollute our atmosphere as much as Beijing; all of this is smoke drifting southwest from the hundreds of wildfires that have been raging in the interior for weeks. So every day, the thick smoke layer traps heat, making the blazing sun even hotter. The sun looks orange through the smoke filter. If I can remember correctly, it’s only rained once or twice this summer — certainly there hasn’t been a drop of rain in weeks.

This is how BC looks from space right now:

At this moment, there are 123 wildfires burning in our province. It’s the worst fire season in about 60 years. We’ve extended the provincial state of emergency to last until August 18th, because approximately 7000 British Columbians are still evacuated from their homes. Firefighters from Nova Scotia, USA, Mexico, and even Australia have come to lend a hand battling the blazes. It’s estimated that 1880 square kilometres have already burned. Even more worrying is that the air quality rating in Kamloops has reached 47, which is double the levels which triggered a red alert warning in China in 2015.

Anyways, if you didn’t already know, this is happening in BC and the extent of it is pretty horrifying. I think we definitely need more education regarding fire safety in extremely dry times like this, where even a discarded cigarette butt can ignite a forest fire. Right now we have a complete ban on campfires and even propane stoves at campgrounds; we absolutely need to prevent any more fires from starting. So please don’t be stupid and light a fire or toss your cigarette onto the ground.

If you want to help, BC government is suggesting donations to the Canadian Red Cross, CanadaHelps, Food Banks BC, Salvation Army, and United Way. We’ve also hosted evacuees in my hometown which is one of the most tangible ways to help people who have been forced to flee their homes. Praying for rain wouldn’t hurt, either.

Here’s hoping that the fires will die down ASAP and stop threatening our citizens and our forests.