Thursday, 9 July 2015

Forest Fires And Highways

It's raining again today here in Anchorage. This is a good thing; the whole of the north needs rain, as does most of BC. The forest fires are running wild throughout Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It seems like the northwest is on fire everywhere you go. Even the Northwest Territories is having a bad go.

I learned this morning that the Alaska Highway was shut down between Watson Lake and Fort Nelson due to a forest fire. I check the highway report. As of now, they are taking people through following a pilot car to make sure drivers get through safely. If the fire gets bad again, or changes direction towards the highway again, the road will once again be closed to traffic.

If that happens, most of us who are experienced with driving here in the north will head down the Dease Lake road, that is if its not closed as well. That road takes you from Watson Lake down to Terrace, BC. From there you head east to Prince George where there are lots of options for getting to Calgary. At least, that is my plan. I always have a back-up plan, and usually a back up plan for my back up plan. If it gets really bad, we can always catch a plane from Whitehorse to Calgary, then return in a week or two to get my truck, or we could take the ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert. It's not a cheap plan, but it's a plan.

Driving up here is always a bit of an adventure. Never mind the constant construction. Never mind the RV's that max out at 50 miles an hour on the two lane highway. Never mind the fires, the weather, the bugs, all of that. Yesterday we rounded a turn on the Seward Highway at full speed only to see a gigantic moose in the middle of the road. I was able to stop in plenty of time; I expect these kinds of events. Others have not been so fortunate this summer. I've seen the wreckage beside the road.

I'm not not worried about getting home. I am a bit worried about the mixed blessing of rainstorms up country. The rain up there is not like the rain down here; up there you get wind and lightening too. It's always a mixed blessing. The rain can slow the fires, or the wind can whip them up and the lightening can start new ones. We'll have to see what happens when we get to Watson Lake. At least we have a motel booked in advance. If the road is closed, it's gonna be crowded.

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