In the summer of 2010, west winds blew smoke from an Okanagan Valley fire, more than halfway across BC, over many mountains and large lakes, such as the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lake, over the Rocky Mountains and most of the way across Alberta, to our home near the city of Medicine Hat, and probably farther.
|Kelowna, which was a small Okanagan city when I was going to school, is a sprawling city now.|
|The month of May was beautiful when we visited the Okanagan Valley.|
By summer, only farms and orchards are green.
|Smoke hovering over the coulee near our house where Dick and Lindy go walking.|
|I was worried about Lindy's breathing, and my own, and then I worried about these horses.|
I have no idea who owns them, but they were out there, in the smoke, day and night.
|Colorful sunsets are the only good thing about smoke in the air. (Too much loss for too little gain.)|
© Richard Schear photos
Out of curiosity, I did some calculating. If the smoke were traveling by car, its shortest route from Kelowna to our neighborhood would be 889 kilometres or 553 miles, on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. It would have to cross the Rockies through places such as Banff and Lake Louise, where some of the mountains are 2900m to 3500m high (9700 to 11,600 feet). The southern route, 1012km or 628 miles, crosses the Rockies at the Crowsnest Pass, and takes much longer to drive (we're still supposing the smoke is traveling by car) because the mountain roads bend and twist a great deal more.
As smoke from forest fires travels through the lower atmosphere on the wind, and not by car, chances are it did cross the Arrow Lakes, drifted over Valhalla Provincial Park, across Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Wilderness Provincial Park, crossing the border into Alberta somewhere southeast of Elkford and northeast of Sparwood, BC, toward Claresholm, Alberta. Then, with no more mountains in its way, the smoke had an easy trip on our prevailing winds, which almost always blow from the west, right across to our town where Highway 1 heads into Medicine Hat.
Posted for the letter O
in Mrs. Nesbitt's alphabetical meme ABC Wednesday
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