Nothing speeds up the heart rate like hearing someone shout, “Fire”! It instantly generates visions of an out-of-control blaze, and right now there are several of them burning in our province.

Forest fires aren’t anything new here. Every summer lightning and human carelessness cause many hectares of land, trees and property to be destroyed. There are currently 167 wildfires burning in British Columbia. Since April 1, 2017, there have been a total of 616 wildfires in the province that have burned a total of 114,929 hectares.* It’s tragic, but it happens. It never seems personal until suddenly it is.

As of this morning, there are 39 evacuation orders and 24 evacuation alerts in place due to wildfires. Approximately 16,250 people are affected by the evacuation orders, the majority of them in BC’s Cariboo and Chilcotin areas. Nine sections of provincial highways are either fully or partially closed.*

Our off-the-beaten-path little Cariboo cabin is on the fringe of an evacuation alert which itself is behind the boundaries of an evacuation order and road closure. There’s no way to get to it now, and there’s nothing we can do to protect it, even if we could. We can only hope the winds won’t drive flames in its direction.

It’s not much of a cabin — more rustic on the inside than its exterior might suggest. It was built by my father and husband from wood cut on the land, slowly finished and furnished by family members over several decades, with used and free materials. It’s not insured because it’s worth nothing, and yet in sentiment and memories it’s worth everything to us.

Adjacent to the cabin and just across the creek is the home my parents built over fifty years ago — the only full time residence on the entire lake. They’ve been gone and their property sold and re-sold multiple times, but our cabin still makes it feel like “our” lake. It’s where we’ve been coming together as generations of a family since I was four years old.

Trees surround both properties, and indeed the whole lake, right down to the water’s edge. If the forest fires reach here, I can’t envision anything stopping them. I can’t envision what this secluded sanctuary would look like. I don’t want to envision it at all.

There are already people who have lost their homes and their livelihood. Several towns were given just ten minutes to evacuate. Businesses had to be abandoned. There are friends in the area whose total homestead and ranch are at risk. Our little cabin is insignificant in the overall picture of this disaster, but still … I can’t help selfishly hoping and praying it won’t be among the casualties.

In the meantime, I wait and write.

~  ~  ~

*Information from BC Wildfire Service


8 thoughts on “Fire!!!

  1. Lynn says:

    Carol, praying. Red Cross called me yesterday … It’s such a tragic circumstance out there. Be safe.

  2. I hope your little cabin is okay. The fire west of us is under control now and the air quality has improved. It’s so frightening each year to see the potential for disaster. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. But to witness the kindness of strangers and neighbours throughout BC is a blessing.

  3. Melissa F. says:

    It looks like such a peaceful place. How incredibly heartwrenching to think about the possibility of losing everything. I hope your home is spared the fires.

  4. pastordt says:

    So, so sorry, Carol. We were evacuated twice in our former home — and our church had to meet elsewhere both times, too. Fires are among the worst features of living in the beautiful parts of the world that we do. And waiting them out is tiring and worrying. Praying for containment, wind change, physical protection and protection for your tender heart, friend.

  5. Darlene says:

    I hope your lovely little cabin with all its memories is spared. The fires are very scary and I hope they will be contained soon. I pray for those who have lost their homes.

  6. Jenn Hubbard says:

    May you all come through the fires OK.

  7. Hope everything is fine now. Don’t worry. Be safe and keep faith. Situation will be better.

  8. Carol says:

    Thanks for your good thoughts, everyone. The fires continue to consume hectares and invade communities. So far our area is okay.

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