FINAL UPDATE – 11PM – Day 4 – Terrible Air Quality Continues – Pre-Burn planned – Will generate smoke

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Update 11:00PM 

Air Quality is continuing to improve (20ug/m3 at 10PM) as the SouthEast Winds today push the low level smoke down the Valley to the North and West (back toward Dog Mountain) and the upper level winds seem to clear the Pemberton fires in the opposite direction toward the South and East.

Localized heavy smoke will of course continue closer to Dog Mountain.

Speaking of which, I’ve come to the conclusion we have an incredible number of pictures coming in from all over the place but without really good local knowledge it’s difficult for many, especially those not familiar to the area, to know where the picture actually is situated.  To help with this problem, I’ve created the map below (click it for larger) and an associated webpage.

If you post a picture on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere you can simply paste in the URL above along with it and say what letter the photo is near.  Hopefully this makes sense and helps people. 🙂


BC Wildfire Update 10:15AM Is Up

New Highlights:

  • 5 heavy equipment now involved
  • Report indicates personel are concentrated on cabins and fire lines
  • controlled burning will start Wednesday weather-permitting
  • 125 hectares (though the Mayor has said 150+)

Also the BC Wildfire Management Branch has announced two CL-215 Scoopers from Ontario will be on the Island tomorrow.  Presumably to help with this fire.

That’s all for now folks.  Have a great evening.  Here’s hoping for successful firefighting efforts tomorrow.  I may not post as much tomorrow as I plan to camp out for a bit waiting for Hawaii Mars activity.  The complexity of these posts, especially the Air Quality stuff,  requires me to use my laptop.  On the road, I will be mostly on Twitter and a little Facebook.  In fact, I may switch my strategy tomorrow and simply post the link to my Twitter feed so you can follow progress that way.

Cheers, and thank you for reading.

Update 7:15PM

Quick air quality update: Finally a reprieve. Current air quality is 32 as of 6PM down from 170+ at 4PM. I am on mobile so can’t access the air quality graphs. Will post them on the final update late tonight.

Update 5:20PM

Our Air Quality continues to stink both literally and figuratively.

Sorry I had to step out for a bit… I was on a bit of a field trip with the City Engineer to our water plant.

It is beautiful there… and nice break of pure clean water after thinking about dirty air all day.

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I’ll have more about that on my councillor blog another day. 🙂

I have switched to the 5 day long graph so that you can see the comparison with our bad air quality yesterday.  As you can see, rather than peaking at 3AM like it did on Monday morning.  Today it has climbed, and has still yet to peak, through the whole day.  In terms of the effect on people, I think it is safe to say this is far worse than what we had on Monday.

We did get a bit of a break when the wind came through but it doesn’t seem to have helped much.  This smoke is coming both from Pemberton and Sproat Lake.  I can’t speculate which would be contributing the most but given the direction of the wind now, I suspect it would be Pemberton.  (Check out the Satellite pictures in the previous update to see).

The BC Wildfire Branch has finally updated their information as of 3:45PM today.  Here is the stuff that has changed.  Note the info about a burn off.

  • Fire now 125ha

  • 33 firefighters, and 3 helicopters

  • There is a plan in place to do a staged ignition on this fire, July 7, 2015. An ignition specialist will burn off areas in small stages. The burn will only go ahead if conditions are deemed to be favourable. The plan is to have the burn at the same intensity that the fire is burning at – moderate, intensity ground fire. This allows the area to be burned in controlled conditions. If we are able to go ahead, the public will have to deal with smoky conditions for two to three days and then the smoke should start to dissipate.

So we might have to deal with a lot of smoke over the next few days.  But hopefully it means less chance of the fire spreading off of the Dog Mountain area.  There is no word yet exactly where the controlled burn will take place.

Residents living on Sproat Lake are still reminded by the ACRD to have a 72hr go-bag ready in case embers spread the blaze across the lake.  I have information about kits below, or you can contact the ACRD email or phone: 250.720.2700.

Here is the updated Timelapse from Mr. Linnings live stream.




I have added a whole raft of photos contributed by Lisa Garcia to my iCloud Fire album.  You can check them out by clicking any of the pictures below.  Amazing how small it was when it started.

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Stay Safe out there everyone.

Update 2:20PM

The Air Quality is horrendous.  If you don’t need to be outside, don’t be outside.  The graph with the big spike is the 1hr average.  The smoother one is the average over 24 hours.  Here are some tips on keeping your home smoke free.

Here is an updated time-lapse from Mr. Linnings lifestream.  It includes yesterday and today.



There has still been no update from today.

NASA just released the latest satellite image for our area.  I’ve circled in red where our fire is located.  You can see it generating smoke.  You can also see the heavy brown smoke exiting Howe Sound and the Fog on the West Coast.  Our smoke is coming from both Sproat and Pemberton area. (click for full size)

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There is some wind occurring which should hopefully start to clear this terrible stuff away.

That said, it does produce amazing pictures.  Like this unfiltered shot of the sun last night.


Update 1:10PM

The Air Quality continues to get worse.  It is now over 150.  The maximum before a warning is 25ug/m3.

There is *still* no current update on the fire on the bcwildfire website.

We could really use some wind even though it would be bad for the fire, at least it would clear the air and allow for helicopters and planes to fly.


People should avoid any strenuous activity at all.  I would actually avoid being outside at all.

On the bright side, here is another video of the bomber going in, just the moment of truth.

And here is a very high quality one from my father-in-law from just after it got in.

Here are some more pics of the fire and other cool things.



Update 12:20PM

Air Quality is still worse at the 11AM update.  Here is the full video, in case you weren’t there.  It is sped up so that you don’t have to wait for an hour. 🙂 Check it out!


Update 11:25AM

Here’s a bit of a time-lapse of her going into the water. Full video coming soon.


Update 11:00AM

Air Quality has worsened considerably in the past couple hours as the fire from the Dog Mountain fire spreads in.

It is very bad.  If you can stay inside with A/C you should.  Be back soon with pics and video of the bomber.

Update 8:35AM



Just a short post to start this morning as I am headed out to the lake to see if I can catch the Hawaii Mars being returned to the water.

Even though the smell of smoke is strong, air quality is surprisingly good on the monitor at Alberni Elementary.  There may be some localized effects happening here but the 1 hour values are very low and the 24 hour values have now dropped well below the criteria warning level.

Despite the improved data, an Air Quality Advisory still remains in effect for our area likely due to the localized smoke around Sproat Lake depending on the wind.  Take precautions to avoid the smoke.

Fire Grows to over 100 hectares.

There is no doubt the fire has grown to well over the 96 hectares still reported by as of 11AM yesterday.  I will update the information for the fire as soon as I can.

The ACRD is recommending you have an 72hr emergency prep bag ready if you live on Sproat Lake.  This does NOT mean there is an evacuation imminent.  It is simply a precautionary measure.  The fire is sending ash and embers across the lake to the homes on the other side, so it is good to be extra vigilant.  Here are some emergency prep lists that Saltspring Islanders use.

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Mars in the Water today

Multiple reports have the Mars going in the water this morning between 8 and 10AM.  I’ll be out there to see if I can catch that moment at 8AM.

 Smoke dampens Heat

The ironic thing about the ferocity of the fire on Sproat Lake is that without it, and the smoke from the Pemberton fires, we would very likely have set a couple more high-temperature records in the past two days.

Instead, we did not crack 30º C.  It is a strange, situation.  We hope it doesn’t get too hot so the fire doesn’t spread, but the smoke is choking us so we wish it would go away… but then it would get hot and windy.

The good news is all the models agree there is a cooling pattern coming starting Friday and especially Saturday and Sunday.

tsfc.144.0000There is a very slight hint of rain possibly by Monday but it is not significant enough to make me think it will have any effect whatsoever on the dry forests or the fire.  The cool temperatures will, however, make things a little easier and onshore breezes should clear the air.  It’s the best we can hope for at this point.



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3 thoughts on “FINAL UPDATE – 11PM – Day 4 – Terrible Air Quality Continues – Pre-Burn planned – Will generate smoke

  1. Thank you so much for these updates Chris! Facebook and other social media are working well for this too, but we are lucky to have you so conscientiously pulling together all the relevant information and links. (Especially those of us who are supposed to be working!). Keep up the excellent work, it’s much appreciated.

  2. really detailed updates here, glad to have found this source of information! Thank you so much for all your time keeping us well informed on all aspects of the fire, strategies, air quality, photos, etc 🙂

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