Moto Adventures

Monday, July 27, 2009

Firestorm 2009

2009 Glenrosa Fire

The fire in the early stages

Crews work tirelessly

The view of the mountain by night

Firestorm 2009, I think the media is a little over the top for me. But for argument sake I guess the memory of the Big Firestorm 2003 is still too fresh a memory for a lot of people around here. The Glenrosa fire started all too close to "Fickeville" (my families 4 houses). Just a few km away the fire was gaining ground and quickly grew burning two houses ,jumped Glenrosa road and scorched many other surrounding yards before the wind changed and sent the fire back running away from Glenrosa in the direction of Peachland. When the wind turned it did indeed turn...wind gusts up to 70 km/hr sent the the fire heading for German's mill and Hwy 97. Employees of the mill fought hard wetting down the wood so the fire skirted the mill without too much damage only to jump the highway, burn a third house in its way and head down thru an old orchard to the Okanagan Lake. The highway was closed and all of Glenrosa was evacuated along with areas in Westbank near Powers Creek canon, including Save on Foods where I work, Kens parents complex.

Thousands of people were evacuated including my entire family-13 people, and just to round off the numbers, Sharon (my sister) and Lawrence along will hundreds of others were stranded because the hwy was closed to Peachland. A family birthday party was cancelled at the last minute when Uncle Henry's building was evacuated so we took the party down to Ken's and my place, the only family house not anywhere near the fire. Here we continued on with Patti's 50th birthday party, played a little bocchi and drank a fair share of wine. The first night there were 14 of us sleeping in various campers, on the couches and on floors of our 1300 sq ft house. For five days we continued on in this fashion, I actually thought it was quite fun having the inpromptue family reunion but then I didn't have to worry abut my house burning in a fire. From our place you can see Glenrosa very well and by the second day we could see that the houses were no longer in danger, really, and everyone was just looking forward to going home. Everyone had gardens and yards to look after that were surely fading fast in the heat of July and Ron had close to 80 chickens at his place that need food and water twice a day. This is where Ken jumped to the rescue, donning his trail patrol shirt he jumped on his KLR and went around the back road into Glenrosa to feed and water the chickens, once again my hero and the chickens'.

After 5 days everyone went home to attend their places and I returned to work a day early from my weekend off to help with the pile of work that accumulated during the closure. Life as we all know it has returned to normal. Ken may not be back to work full time for a bit (he has been building dirt bike trails) because the bush is so dry and there is still too great a chance of fire, even though we have had a bit of rain the last day or so...just not enough.

In retrospect, it is great how family and friends can come together in a time of crisis. And I am thinking we should have maybe a 2 day family reunion (camping or something, not necessarily at my place) each year. I could be fun as long as we had enough wine!

A few of us enjoy dinner in our back yard

Ken points out the smoke from the Terrace Mountain fire. After being 90% contained a wind picks up the flames and the fire takes off again.

Terrace Mountain fire, August 1st. Amazing but not a pretty sight for all the people living closeby.