Fire Sky

Fire 74750003 Copyright Shelagh DonnellyThose who have lived in an area in which wild fires have consumed trees and buildings may look at this and recall the thickness of the air, or again taste smoke in their throat.

We lived in Kelowna during the time of 2003’s Okanagan Mountain Fire, and this is an image looking westward from our back yard, in the early days before officials attached the “firestorm” designation to the flames. While none of the homes in our immediate neighbourhood caught fire, a number of our kids’ classmates became homeless and a mini construction boom followed over the next year or so.

As might be imagined by this afternoon photo, the lighting and atmospheric conditions in general were off kilter. Within a day or so of this picture, ash began a slow, deceptively gentle rain upon our property. As the fire grew in scale, the evacuation alert became a reality and our neighbourhood took on a Twilight Zone atmosphere when a police cruiser crawled down the road with its driver using a megaphone to order residents to evacuate our homes.

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