The good news is Lillooet residents were allowed to go home yesterday, still under evacuation alert tho'. I personally feel that the "neighbourhood by neighbourhood" re-entry was ridiculous. I couldn't imagine camping down near the bridge, only a minute from the road check, and not allowed to enter until 4 PM if you lived in central Lillooet east of Main Street, while someone who has to travel from Kamloops (or wherever they stayed) and lives at Conway, could enter at 1 PM or if you lived at Cayoosh Indian reserve you could enter at noon.
Don't you think it would have been better to open the road check for 20 minutes and shut it down for 10 or something similar? All areas would have been slowly populated, there would have been way less congestion at the bottom of Station Hill, and a lot of people who didn't travel very far out of town would have been home a lot quicker. I know when there is a sale at the grocery store in Lillooet, and you aren't there the first day, usually items are sold out and you get a rain check, wonder what was left for the 4 o'clock residents when 4 hours of people got there before them, to stores that were most likely low in stock to begin with?? It's a wonder there wasn't a mutiny at noon! But I am very grateful, that sitting here at 7:30 AM, most Lillooet residents are waking in their own beds this morning :)
So that was the good news :) The bad news is the Della Creek fire, just across the river and down from us. The fire has really taken off and it has me more worried than the Lillooet (Mt. McLean) fire. Last night Hubby and I drove down and I took some pics. The small light in the bottom right of the picture is an RCMP officer's vehicle blocking anyone from returning, a small group of houses is located to the left of his car in the bottom center of the photo.
While I was there I spoke with a girl who's grandmother lives just below the fires. Binoculars in hand, she sat nervously in the back of a pick-up truck watching across the river. Her Uncle Phillip was interviewed on the news last week saying he would not be leaving if an evacuation order was put in place. I don't know if he changed his mind when we saw the RCMP come down the road, followed by a school bus, and evacuate the people over there.
This fire has the potential to really get out of control and a back burn is tentatively scheduled for today. The back burn will either "make or break" the fire because it's going to be in a spot that could light up the whole mountain on this side. The fire is 22 kilometers away from Lillooet and everyone should really be on their toes because the Mt. McLean fire swiftly made it over towards Seton and Shalath in no time at all.
Yesterday afternoon I was standing on my deck watching the billows of smoke coming from the back end of the fire and was shocked at just how hot the fire was burning! Clouds of smoke quickly rose to the sky almost instantly covering the sun and we didn't know if it was a back burn or not... it turns out it was not and sadly the fire just took off. Hubby was less than two miles away with our skidder, he said he could almost feel the heat and the noise was comparable to an aircraft carrier.
It's hard to tell in the picture but the smoke was roaring up quite fast.
I don't think these fires are going to stop until we see snow, seriously. Even then, roots from trees can smolder for a year or more waiting until the first hot day of next summer. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I think we are far from being out of the woods (quite the pun there).
For more pictures of the fires visit my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasa