The news of forest fires from the West reached us here in Thompson on the wind, as the smoke continues to alter the hue of the sky and taste of the air. We’ve had smoke off and on for the last few months, but this appears to be the most serious fire so far. The sky has that pink tinge that only smoke will produce, which intensifies sunrises and sunsets and creates a surreal feel in the atmosphere: an oddly pretty side-effect of such a natural disaster. The smoke itself, however, itches the throat if one stays outside too long, as happened to me several weeks back. I imagine it’s ten times worse in the immediate area of effect.
Even though it is raining and overcast at this moment, one can still taste the smoke in the air. I want the fires to end soon, and want more rain, as this season has been particularly dry. The boreal is losing enough forest as it is, with the spread of the pine beetles into the East, riding on warm air currents over the Rockies and into the Prairies from B.C. Thus far, this has been a bad year for the forests of the North, and I’d be remiss to forget the fires in California too. We are fortunate to have so many lakes and rivers for our water bombers to scoop from, and can only imagine how much more difficult it must be to fight fires in the States.