Skip

Burns Big Fire
September 12, 2005 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Today in Delta BC, a city within the GVRD, a fire burns out of control. The largest raised peat bog (over 10,000 acres) in western North America, Burns Bog is sending smoke and ash across the area. Major blazes occurred in 1977, 1990, 1994 and 1996. The 1996 fire covered Greater Vancouver in smoke and ash for two days, destroying 170 hectares. Smaller fires have burned for months in underground methane. However, there are other risks to the "Lungs of Vancouver", including a proposed theme park.
posted by Kickstart70 (34 comments total)

 
Last night the air in Vancouver was choked with pervasive smoke, at some times smelling like firewood and at others like burning plastic. My bikeride across the west side left me out of breath, which ordinarily never happens. Gag.
posted by holycola at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2005


Bunch of us were driving back from Horseshoe Bay in the late afternoon and we saw the smoke coming from Delta on the horizon.

We could smell the burning potash et. al. by the time we reached the south end of the Lion's Gate Bridge.
posted by illiad at 9:59 AM on September 12, 2005


Yeah, I was trying to figure out what the stink was in the house last night. it wasn't so bad outside, but the smell collected in the house through open windows, sort of a firewood/sulfur smell. Didn't even occur to me to check the news.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:02 AM on September 12, 2005


Am I living in some kind of alternate reality? I haven't noticed anything in the West End. Maybe it's the breeze off English Bay.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2005


Here in Richmond it's pretty strong, even past the air conditioners in the office. I couldn't smell it at home in Steveston, right near the ocean, but I likely will by the time I get back there tonight.

Winds in Richmond tend to blow to the southeast in the morning and the northwest in the evening, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out if the fire keeps going.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:06 AM on September 12, 2005


Ditto, Turtles, I'm in the westend and hadn't noticed. I'm on my way to South Van, I'm sure to smell it there.
posted by btwillig at 10:10 AM on September 12, 2005


Here's a Vancouver Sun link. The picture looks somewhat more dramatic than the one on the Flickr page.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:12 AM on September 12, 2005


I just looked south out my window and there is indeed a very large low lying pall of smoke over the entire west side of Vancouver.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2005


OK, I feel a bit of perverse satisfaction. Last Fall I was forced to move from the West coast to the greater Toronto area to find work. The air quality here is terrible by comparison, and after a year of suffering through it, I'm somewhat relieved that I'd be breathing worse if I had stayed (at least for now).
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:33 AM on September 12, 2005


Yeah, out at the University of B.C. here, and it's pretty bad. Just closed the office window.
posted by jokeefe at 10:38 AM on September 12, 2005


I could smell it at about 6pm up at UBC last night, and today it's very hazy here and smells like a nice camp fire. So far it doesn't match the haze that blanketed Montreal and southern QC a few years back due to forest fires hundreds of miles away. The sky turned orange for a week.

Popular Ethics- I think I'll take a few days of this haze over the 401 corridor's suffocating nightmare. My allergies have never been better since moving out here. :-)
posted by simra at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2005


simra: I think I'll take a few days of this haze over the 401 corridor's suffocating nightmare

*grumble*
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2005


I could smell it faintly last night, and I'm up near the base of Grouse on the North Shore.

Does anyone know how it started?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2005


Gah. *coughs*

Seriously, we're miles from this thing, and my eyes are actually starting to burn.
posted by jokeefe at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2005


I can see the fire from my office at BC Hydro. It just got buzzed by a water bomber a few minutes ago. I'm praying the wind doesn't change so the ventilation system doesn't suck all that smoke into the building (as has happened in other fires). I first saw it from Lighthouse park yesterday and smelled it pretty strongly for a few hours around 9pm last night.
posted by Dunder at 11:42 AM on September 12, 2005


I once saw a TV segment on Burns Bog where the host pointed out an hallucinogenic flower. Anyone...ahhh, anyone know what that was?
posted by Dunder at 11:46 AM on September 12, 2005


Getting pretty bad here in the office now. My lungs feel icky. Other people I know are heading home to get out of it. I'm going to stick it out for a while and see how it gets.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2005


Just saw another water bomber do a run - still giddy with excitement. Those things really go in low.
posted by Dunder at 12:07 PM on September 12, 2005


Well, so much for not noticing it: my eyes are really starting to burn now.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:46 PM on September 12, 2005


I once saw a TV segment on Burns Bog where the host pointed out an hallucinogenic flower. Anyone...ahhh, anyone know what that was?

No, but...dude, it makes you like...feel... in COLOURS, MAN! (maybe this fire thing isn't so bad after all)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2005


We had a bit of ash falling at our place in North Burnaby. Looking from my window across the inlet at about 8pm, there was a pall of smoky haze obscuring seymour and deep cove.

The smell was tough to notice at first because we were smoking a chicken (mmm, hickory), but there was a campfire smell after we pulled the bird off. Truly strange.
posted by sharpener at 12:53 PM on September 12, 2005


The wind's finally changed direction and we're getting it at work now too (ScienceWorld area). Nice. I hope it wasn't another idiot with a cigarette like last time.
Here's the worst bit "Provincial fire information officer Radha Fisher said the fire, on the eastern edge of the bog, is about 12 hectares in size.
Dave Murdoch, a director with the Burns Bog Conservation Society, said the fire could smoulder for weeks..."

Asthma sufferers take note.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:05 PM on September 12, 2005


Zack_Replica: I haven't had an asthma attack in over a decade, but am getting concerned.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2005


There's a couple of people here at work that are beginning to react to it, though it's more general allergies than specific asthma. The wind (here) seems to be blowing in from the south, which is just *great*, and I can see the haze at about 1-1/2 city blocks, which is also just *great*. If it keeps on like this or gets worse, I'd suggest hitting Crappy Tire or a hardware store for paper masks.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:33 PM on September 12, 2005


I'm in an office tower downtown, and its smelling in here. I can even tell there is smoke between buildings.

Here are some pretty dramatic shots from downtown and west side webcams:

From Downtown toward FalseCreek/English Bay | You can look at the archives of this one and see how bad it has been over the course of the day.

Jericho Beach toward North Shore mountains
posted by SSinVan at 1:53 PM on September 12, 2005


Yeah, I'm a block from Canada Place and you can smell it pretty strongly. I started to smell it on the North Shore last night, I'm up in the Lynn Valley region.

I don't think this smells like a campfire.....well, a campfire with some mosquito repellent thrown on it. It has a lovely acrid aftertaste.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2005


Slightly off-topic, but I never knew there was a spit of land belonging to the USA just south of Vancouver.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2005


Armitage:

Yes, its called Pt. Roberts. Many Vancouverites own vacation properties down there, or moor their boats there. Some of the American kids that live there full time get bussed into Canada, then back into Blaine USA to go to school on a daily basis. Its a very odd arrangement actually, but at least we got the whole of Vancouver Island out of the deal.

Its mostly just a place where I go to get the candy and other junkfood that we don't have here.

Oh---but they probably have smoke there too since its pretty close to the bog.
posted by SSinVan at 2:18 PM on September 12, 2005


Ah yes. Point Roberts. Why it just wasn't given to Canada I've no idea... perhaps the US is in dire need of the golf course and marina? I can remember I was about 14 and spending a rare day with my father and his friend, and we'd walk across the border to a very nice creperie. At 14, I thought "just walking across the border" was amazingly daring, even though my father's friend knew the guard and, really, no one cared much.
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:22 PM on September 12, 2005


It's finally started to come up through the vents here at BC Hydro in Burnaby *cough*. Smells like a more acrid burning paper...
posted by Dunder at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2005


now I remember where I've smelled this before! This smells like those first nations sweet grass smudges my hippie brother used to "bless" our apartment with until the smoke was so thick, I couldn't see the TV.
posted by Dunder at 2:56 PM on September 12, 2005


Kerrisdale, a little West of UBC, was pretty smokey this morning. It didn't seem necessarily unpleasant but there was something not-quite right.

Just went outside for a smoke; clear and sunny. Hopefully it stays that way.

Does anyone know whether the fire was in the 'contested' portions of the Bog?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:00 PM on September 12, 2005


Taking the Skytrain from New West to Patterson, I was able to see the funnel of smoke rising from the bog and spreading out to cover a significant portion of the sky. The smell is/was quite noticeable in both locations.
posted by birdsquared at 6:07 PM on September 12, 2005


Oh, and I was surprised when none of the local papers used the headline: "Bog burns"
posted by birdsquared at 6:08 PM on September 12, 2005


« Older Comic(book) Relief.   |   Intelligence in Crows, Ravens and Jays Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post