Monday, June 29, 2015

Driving in the Saskatchewan fire smoke

My plan was for Alaska trip updates to appear here just after we traveled. After all, we previously decided that live blogging isn't really my thing, but the Saskatchewan fires temporarily changed my plans. Since my cell phone signal stopped just after we entered Canada, I'll be posting about where we are with the Saskatchewan fires as internet service is available.

All was sunny and bright when we camped in Lumsden last night. Air quality was good and nothing seemed amiss. Early this morning seemed to be as nice as yesterday. Birds were singing, a critter kept Tomlin's attention and all was good.

Boy! Did that change fast. Air quality slid downhill in a couple of hours. The air was stinging by the time our laundry was done and visibility was greatly reduced. I'll let the photos tell the stories of the smoke from the Saskatchewan fire. Photos are untouched except for sizing.

Lumsden campgroundOur campsite first thing this morning.It's nice and clear. There's nothing to indicate anything was amiss. Just a nice pleasant day.

Lumsden campground ball field

The ball field when we first got up this morning.  From all appearances, the field looks ready for teams to gather. Again, nothing indicates the change that the Saskatchewan fires will bring.

 Two hours later...

Smoke filled Lumsden campground ball field
You can barely see the ball field. Both photos were taken from roughly the same spot. 

Smoke filled Lumsden campgroundOur campsite is the one on the left. It was taken from a slightly different angle from the picture above. You still get the idea. Only two hours passed between photos.

Scarier stuff...

The camp host said that we were 200 miles from the fire when the pictures were taken. It's scary how fast the smoke moved in. I cannot imagine how quickly the blaze must be moving and pray for all those in harm's way and for all the personnel who are working with the fire and victims.

We figure that the best we can do in relation to how the Saskatchewan fires affect us is to keep driving toward Alaska. Our van windows are up, the air is on recirculate and my inhaler is at the ready.

Leaving Lumsden took us on a southern part of Hwy. 2. The gas station was packed. I would describe the feeling as calmly tense. People were buying snacks and everyone seemed eager to get back on the road.

This post is being written from a Tim Horton's in Battlefords. Air quality is bad here too. These news reports indicate that Saskatchewan air quality could be an issue for awhile.

Here are a couple of photos taken from Hwy. 2:

Smoke on Hwy 2 in SaskatchewanWe took this photo after stopping for gas on Highway 2. Smoke from the  Saskatchewan fire almost completely hides the second oncoming vehicle.

Smoke on Hwy 2 in Saskatchewan
 In this photo, the road behind the closed sign is almost completely obscured by the thick smoke. You can barely trace the outline of it on the hill.

Smoke on Hwy 2 in SaskatchewanI took this so I could remember where the other photos of the smoke from the Saskatchewan fire were taken.

I hope life in Canada can get back to normal soon.  Hubby and I are getting back on the road. One of us will post another update when internet presents itself again. In the meantime, where ever you are, stay safe!

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