Mountain Nature and Culture Podcast
About This Show
This podcast explores the natural and human history of the Canadian Rockies as well as its attractions and culture. We'll look at the ecology and wildlife as well as the unique plants and birds that make the Canadian Rockies home. Looking back through our history we will share the stories behind the scenery. This is the place for all things Rockies.
Most Recent Episode
036 Expanding Forest Fires, Bear 148 Gets One More Chance and No National Bird for Caanda
6 days ago
Forest Fires Spreading across British Columbia and now threaten parts of Alberta When I wrote last week's fire focused episode, little did I know that my own community of Canmore would be smelly and smoky this week as fires continue to spread and the number of evacuees in British Columbia climbs. The hot dry weather is showing no signs of abating and over the past week, the number of people forced out of their homes and communities in British Columbia has swelled from 14,000 to more than 45,000 as of July 18, 2017. This makes it one of the largest mass evacuations in the history of the province. The previous record was an evacuation of 50,000 due to fires near Kelowna in 2003. Heat waves that year also caused massive fires across both Alberta and British Columbia. Over this past weekend, high winds caused a number of fires to rapidly expand in size and has subsequently resulted in more evacuations. In other areas, the fires around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House have stayed fairly stable over the past few days allowing firefighters to make some headway. Some people are being allowed to return to their communities, although many may return to find their homes have been destroyed. Members of the Ashcroft Indian Reserve and the community of Cache Creek are returning home after an 11-day absence. Residents of 100-Mile House may also be returning home soon. Province-wide, there are still 155 active fires burning and there is still no sign of significant rain on the horizon. Closer to the Alberta border, a fire in the Verdant Creek area of Kootenay National Park ignited last week. This fire puts flames within just 2.5 kilometres of Sunshine Village in Banff National Park. In just 24 hours it swelled in size by a factor of 10, growing from a few hundred hectares on Sunday to some 2,000 ha by Monday. The fire is considered to be out of control and crews are working in the Sunshine area to try to prevent the loss of any structures should the fire continue to spread eastward. Huge water pumps are also at the ready in order to keep buildings wet if the fire encroaches the resort area. As you can imagine, there is now a total fire ban throughout the mountain national parks. Kootenay National Park has also closed the Verdant Creek area all the way to the Simpson River in the south and Banff has closed Sunshine Meadows and Village, as well as access to the Egypt Lake area, Healy Pass, Citadel Pass, Whistling Valley and Pharaoh Pass. I would expect additional closure