Wednesday, June 30

Must There Be Smoke?

Since last Saturday (or maybe it was Friday) we have wakened each day to more smoke in the air than the day before. Every day the news report I wake to on the radio adds new fires to the list of forest fires burning in the Yukon. Here is a map that shows all of the fires. Right now there are more than 100 burning, and the Dempster Highway that goes up to Inuvik is closed. The Alaska Highway is open again, but travellers can expect delays while they wait for a pilot car to lead them through the smokey area.

The smoke has become oppressively thick here in town, and none of the mountains that rim the valley are visible to us. There is smoke obscuring our view of homes only a few houses down the street from us.

The heat is gone, and the temperature is quite comfortable, but the smoke makes it impossible to do much outdoors anyway. The Kanoe People are no longer renting canoes for river trips from Whitehorse to Dawson, partly because of the smoke, and partly because portions of the river are dangerously high.

There are two tankers that have come to fight the fires stuck at the airport because of bad visibility due to the smoke. For over 24 hours they have just been sitting there, waiting.

Tomorrow my daughter from Vancouver is coming for a week's visit. I am worried that her flight will be cancelled. I'm also worried that she'll get here, but the smoke will stay for the whole time she's here, and we won't be able to do any of the activities we had planned.

Smoke. We could do without it.