This is the time of the year where we start thinking a lot about weather… whether the systems will align and deliver a banner snow year, or whether we’re going to be riding bikes all winter long.
The dry summer has left our local soils “hydrophagic” – meaning that for the next 3-5 years, they will not absorb water as efficiently as they did before drought-conditions. Combined with the massive burn-off from the Boulder Creek wildfire, run-off from heavy rainfall is much more dramatic and impactful, causing the rapid rise of river levels in the Lillooet. So, one dry fiery summer will heighten our vulnerability to extreme weather events for the next few years. It’s a scary cycle.
VICE magazine dug in to tell this story. Worth a watch.
At 10 percent of Canada’s land surface, BC’s landmass is immense, containing a large stretch of temperate rain forest along its Pacific coast. Some of the wettest places in North America are within the province—earning BC the nickname the “wet coast.”
For the past decade, the province, including the rainforest, has been affected by the mild winters and drought-like conditions, which culminate in uncharacteristically long lasting fire seasons. This year has been the driest since 1893, when records started, which has lead to more and longer lasting wildfires. Experts are calling the province as a whole the canary in the coal mine.
During the peak wildfire season, hundreds of new fires were being reported every day, and the province struggled to get both the human and financial resources to keep up.
VICE heads to Oliver in the BC’s interior to embed with fire crews and Boulder Creek in the coastal BC to look at how the wildfires have affected the fragile BC ecosystem—everything from air quality to the salmon migration have been touched. We talk to firefighters on the ground and in the air, trek through charred forests with environmental scientists, and discuss connections to the climate change with BC’s climate experts and hear from activist David Suzuki who tells us “we don’t even know enough to know if it’s too late.”
(Fun to see Stewardship Pemberton’s Veronica Woodruff at the 9 minute mark, on how this impacts our rivers and salmon, and Lil’wat’s forester Jordan Gabriel, at 10:30.)