Forest fires are a common scenario during the summer in Northern British Columbia. Summer tends to only last around 3-4 months but it can be hot and dry because of very little precipitation. One year ago, Prince George, a city in Northern British Columbia, woke up to complete darkness. On July 18th 2014 the darkness of night never ceased as the clocks kept ticking closer and closer to noon.
The residents who awoke to this darkness had no idea what could have caused this blackout. Of course, our minds tend to think the worst when approached with scenarios we are completely uncertain about. Did the apocalypse come over night? Is the sun ever going to shine again? Is the earth on fire?!
Eventually the skies started getting lighter as time progressed; as the light spread through the sky all that could be seen were eerie orange-ish clouds in the sky. Residents of the city captured many images throughout the darkness and reached out to social media to find an answer to this bizarre occurrence.
Forest Fires in Northern British Columbia
In the summer of 2014 there were over 160 forest fires burning through British Columbia. There are two main ways forest fires are started: Human activity and lightning. It doesn’t take much to start a forest fire during the hot, dry summer season in British Columbia. As of July 18th, 2014 there were 12 significant forest fires burning throughout the province. Significant meaning, large in size, a threat to people and their homes and causing power outages and road closures.
How could the forest fires cause this blackout over the city?
“In Prince George Friday morning the smoke was so thick from nearby fires that the street lamps had to be lit again. The smoke is from the Chelaslie Fire near Tetachuk Lake, which was very active on Thursday and residents of Prince George were seeing those effects a day later. The smoke was mixed in with a rain system, bringing the first serious rain to the area for a couple of weeks.” – Global News
It is common to have smoke from local forest fires enter the city during the summer. Though, what made this specific occurrence happen was the rain that coated the fire, caused an immense excess of smoke to come off and, literally, black out the sun. The Chelaslie Arm forest fire totaled over 20,000 hectares.
Please take note…
Forest fires can start just by throwing your lit cigarette out the window of your car and/or leaving a campfire unattended. You don’t want to be responsible for a forest fire; be sure to abide by laws in regards to potential camp fire bans in your region in the summer.
If you spot a forest fire in British Columbia call: 1-800-663-5555 or call *5555 toll free on most cellular networks.
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