Updating All Day – 9:55AM – Air Quality Major Concern Across the Country – Rain Not Coming Soon

The new Bring back the Mars petition is going to hit 15,000 today. Incredible. You can sign it here.
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Update 9:55AM

Air Quality continues to improve but Advisory will remain for the day.  The short term 1-hour numbers are just at warning level now of 25ug/m3 and look to be levelling off.  Even if it stays there for 24 hours that means the 24 hour average will still be at warning levels.

Jeremy Linning’s life feed is now over. :(

The BC Wildfire page has now been updated.  Here it is in full

Dog Mountain (V70274)

Last updated: Monday, July 06, 2015 at 9:36 AM

Location: Dog Mountain on Sproat Lake
• See approximate location of this wildfire on a Mapquest map.
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Saturday, July 04, 2015

Size: 35.0 hectares (estimated)

Status: Active
Fire is surrounded by steep terrain on all sides and is very active. This fire is burning aggressively on the top of a mountain and backed down the slope last night. An uninhabited cabin was lost.

InterfaceInterface Interface Fire
Cabins at the lake level with boat only access were evacuated with help from the RCMP. This area is still considered dangerous due to the rolling debris coming downhill from the fire. The public is cautioned that this is a very active and dangerous response area, and they should not approach the area by boat or foot.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has activated a Level one Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to support response efforts for this fire. For more information on the EOC, contact Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District: Russell Dyson at 250 720-2705 or 250 720-7051.

More information
This fire is on a peninsula of land almost completely surrounded by Sproat Lake. A narrow isthmus provides land access to some of the cabins on the peninsula.

Cause: Human Human Caused
This fire is suspected to be human caused.

• 21 firefighters
• 3 helicopters
Air Tankers dropped retardant on the fire on Saturday, which has the ability to retard the movement of the fire when either wet or dry. Helicopters, including a heavy helicopter, are also bucketing on the fire to cool hot spots and reduce fire behaviour.

Update 8:45AM

Air Quality continues to improve. Unfortunately, a Cabin (uninhabited) has been consumed by the fire.

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I’ve created a GIF of images from Jeremy Linning’s Periscope feed.  It shows the growth of the fire this morning.


You can watch the smoke roll in in yesterdays time-lapse.  Apologies for the one camera that has been acting up lately.

Environment Canada just updated their statement on the smoke.  Forecast high remains 35º C.

Issued at 2015-07-06 14:40 UTC by Environment Canada:
Special weather statement continued for:
East Vancouver Island, B.C. (081300)
West Vancouver Island, B.C. (081400)
Inland Vancouver Island, B.C. (081500)

Current details:
Forest fire smoke will continue to affect the BC South Coast.

Forest fire smoke continues to affect much of the inner South Coast. While low level wind patterns are changing, ushering in cooler marine air through Juan de Fuca strait, winds aloft are expected to remain fairly light. Slightly cooler temperatures and modest improvements in visibilities and air quality are expected. Smoke aloft may linger for some time.

Update  7:35AM

Air Quality Advisory in Effect. Click here for recommendations (PDF). Graphs updated with 7AM values.  Air Quality improving.  If you are thinking about getting out of town for a while to find clearer air.  The West Coast and North island are probably your best bets.

“Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease. “

Initial Post 7:20AM

The big concern is Air Quality.  I will keep the air quality graphs above the updates today and update them periodically until the values go below criteria levels (25).  Note my images may not update as often as the bc airquality site itself but at least they are more accessible than the BC AirQuality website. I will do my best.

Even though it doesn’t seem as dramatic as yesterday, the big concern today more than yesterday is Air Quality.  An Advisory remains in effect.

The official ‘objective’ is an average 2.5 micro-metre Particulate Matter (PM2.5) over 24 hours of 25ug/m3.  Our latest reading at 6AM brought us to double that standard.

Our raw reading got as high as 130ug/m3 at 3AM.  It is currently, as of the 6AM update, 62ug/m3.

You can see this readings on the BC Airquality website.  On a mobile device or without flash you need to go to the Data Archive and the data is delayed.  On a computer with flash, go to the Nanaimo area and click the Port Alberni Elementary button on the map then click on the readings to see the graphs.  It’s not very easy.

Smoke unlikely to clear completely today.  But we are not alone.

The images below are from the fire smoke models at firesmoke.ca.

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The red is PM2.5 levels of over 175.  That’s terrible.  These images are the forecasted levels today around 6PM.   These models update only once a day.

So this is all good and bad news.

The good news is with all the smoke, we will not be able to reach our forecast high of 35ºC.  That means reduced fire activity and a little more comfort for everyone.

The bad news is with all the smoke, we have continued air quality issues.  It’s a double edged sword but I think at this point, I’ll take the reduced fire activity and heat over the poor air quality.

That said, if you do have respiratory problems, it is recommended that you stay indoors somewhere there is A/C or filtration as this poor air will affect those with asthma, or other respiratory illnesses especially.

There is some wind on the West Coast this morning and we have had a light breeze this morning in town but not nearly enough to make a difference as was hoped.

Fire remains.  Linning Livestream

Jeremy Linning still has a Periscope live stream of the fire here.

Since the Fire information has not been updated since 3PM yesterday, this stream is our best up-to-date look at the state of the fire.  It seems to have grown a bit toward the right since yesterday.

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Weather forecast remains uncertain, except no Rain.

Because the smoke is blocking the full force of the sun, we can really throw the temperature forecasts out the window.  It was 10ºC cooler yesterday than forecast because of the smoke.

What we really need to know is when the wind might come and take this smoke away.  It was supposed to start this morning, and it did a bit, but not much.

There is a good breeze on the coast this morning and that is supposed to pickup a bit as you can see on the image below.


But there isn’t much in the interior of the Island.  Lets hope there is anyway.

Don’t expect rain anytime soon.

What we know for sure, is there is not going to be any rain anytime soon.  There is no rain in the UWash model forecast through the 13th.

There is also only a consensus of 10mm of rain forecast between now and the 21st of July on the super-long range models.  With most of that falling at the back end and most uncertain end of the prediction.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 6.54.33 AMThe bias is on the low side as well (you can tell from the darker shading below the line than above.

I wish I had better news but without a serious change in our weather pattern, we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Have a good Monday.


UPDATING – Incredible Yellow Morning – Fire Grown – Cool will help – Air Quality OK

The new Bring back the Mars petition is going to hit 10,000 by the end of the day.  Incredible.  You can sign it here.

Final July 5 Update 10:55PM

While we all worry about these fires, as we should.  Let us not forget the one thing that made this so much more likely.  Us.


Stay safe out there folks.  I’ll be back tomorrow updating this post.

Update 9:55PM

A resident, Jeremy Linning, just started a Periscope Live Stream of the fire.  You can see it coming down the mountain. Click the Green to see it. (note, the picture is sideways)

Update 9:40PM

BC Wildfire service just announced that a contracted tree faller has died while working on the Sechelt fire.

Please take this opportunity to think about those 1000 firefighters and 400 contractors that are working now in the forests of BC.  The whole force is out there according to the Vancouver Sun.  Strength to them and their families and friends that support  them.

The main page for the Dog Mountain fire has still not updated but the front page now says the fire is 45 hectares, up from 35 at 3PM.


Update 8:20PM

Wind coming hopefully tomorrow morning to clear away this smoke, but might also cause more active fire behaviour.  See the green area of 10knot (19kph) winds.  Probably a little less here.


Update 7:50PM

Air Quality Advisory issued.

Here is the text of the statement: (it is not yet on the website, I received it through email)

WILDFIRE SMOKE ADVISORY ISSUED For East and South Coast of Vancouver Island

(July 5, 2015) Nanaimo. The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Island Health has issued a Wildfire Smoke Advisory for the east and south coast of Vancouver Island from Campbell River to Victoria, including the interior community Port Alberni, because of forest fire smoke that is affecting most areas. Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change. This situation is expected to persist until meteorological conditions change.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

For information on current air quality in or near your community please visit: www.bcairquality.ca

Update 5:20PM

If you are wondering where the satellite picture came from of the smoke, go to the NASA MODIS site here.  It is a fantastic site and updates very frequently as the satellite orbits.



Update 4:20PM

A new update from bcwildfire.  No change in size. One interesting note: “Status: Active
This fire is burning aggressively on the top of a mountain and has backed down the slope, now within 60 meters of the cabins. ”

Here is an excellent satellite picture from the NASA MODIS satellite that shows very well the source of most of the smoke near pemberton, but our fire is contributing too for sure.  Environment Canada says in a Special Statement that winds tonight should clear the smoke for tomorrow.


Update 1:45PM

I just noticed Environment Canada updated their forecast to include “local smoke”.  They say it will clear early this afternoon and still reach 35º C.  But I just can’t see us getting to that temperature unless there is wind and I can’t see wind coming without the temperature gradient.  We are near the same temp in the Valley as the West Coast.  No gradient, no wind.

Air Quality Index is still OK but no doubt if you are near the fire you will feel it.  I have a headache from the smoke.

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Update 1:30PM

Back from the lake.  Got a ton of photos too many to post here. You can see the full Album here or click on the image below

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Wild fire BC has updated their info. Summary: 21 firefighters, 3 helicopters, 35 hectares.  Area has been evacuated and rolling debris makes area dangerous.

ACRD has released a statement too:

  1. Presently the fire is not contained.
  2. 20 ha. In size (now bigger)
  3. More air support is being assigned. Coulson’s Sirkosky has been assigned.
  4. A local contractor is attempting to establish road access on the west end.
  5. Work is being done to establish a machine fire guard to prevent the fire from leaving Dog Mountain.
  6. Hillside is unstable with a potential with rocks and trees to come down without warning.
  7. RCMP, Sproat Lake Marine Patrol and Search and Rescue are on the water advising boaters to stay clear of helicopter bucketing operations.
  8. The Regional District has declared a local state of emergency and an evacuation order has been issued.

Update 11:55AM

Am on lake now watching two helicopters bucket fire including a Coulson corporate heli.

Go to my twitter page for more.  Signal not good enough for big update here.


Update 10:50AM

Lots of smoke in the air. And soot from yesterday.  Also, there is a meeting of the Emergency ops centre this morning and thhe city and acrd will likely communicate after that.  There is also pictures of the fuel truck from Coulson fueling something. Just rumours at this point.



Update 10AM – Make Way for Scoopers

Reports from folks on the Lake indicate that while the fire has definitely grown overnight, it does seem to be less vigorous this morning and crews seem to be having some success.  There is just one helicopter on it right now.  Speculation on my part, but the heavy smoke cover might hinder larger aircraft (including the Mars) from participating in the effort.

The last update the status of the fire on bcwildfire is still from 7PM last night.

The RCMP is also requesting that folks try to keep their distance from the fire so the helicopters can scoop from the lake.

This sky is crazy.



This post will update throughout the day.

What an incredible sky this morning.  This smoke is from both the fire at Sproat Lake but mainly fires from the Interior and Northern BC.   The entire South Coast of BC is under the same kind of haze.  I have lots of local pictures from Facebook at the bottom of the post. You can see the smoke on the Satellite picture.

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While it seems strange and a little scary thankfully, it is just smoke. The sproat fire is still on the uninhabited side of the Lake (aside from the small number of Cabins at the bottom of Dog Mountain that have been evacuated) and the cool morning has helped cool the fire too.

What we have to look out for is heat in the afternoon (more on that below) and wind.

Air Quality OK

You might be worried about Air Quality.  The Port Alberni station reports that the particulate level right now is ok.  It is still well below the warning level at the black line in the bar below.

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Cool mornings are good. Still going to be Hot today but maybe not as hot.

The good news is that we cooled right down overnight.  At its worst yesterday we were at 36º C at the Airport (a record) and 12% humidity.  Perfect conditions for serious fire activity.

This morning it is only 16º C and 70% humidity.  This should help fire activity quite a lot.

I am frankly unsure how this haze will affect the afternoon high temperatures.  Environment Canada still says we will reach 37º C but I am inclined to believe this layer of smoke will limit the power of the sun.  If we get that heat, and the resulting dry air, it will be bad for the fire, especially if there is wind as well. We’ll see.  I will be learning today.

More Updates on Fire through the Day

I’ll be continuing to update the situation on the wildfire through the day.  It is currently listed as 20 hectares.  (Oddly, the Wildfire of Note page says only 5 hectares, but it is obviously larger than that).

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I will keep adding to this post throughout the day.  I have the good fortune of possibly getting out on a boat to see the situation up close later this morning.



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