Thankfully the air seems to be clearing up here after a few days of thick smoke brought on by numerous forest fires in Alberta and Saskatchewan. I'm sure by now most people have heard of the disruption brought about by this. Fortunately, we seem to have escaped the worst of it here. If you've seen satellite photos of the smoke in the media in recent days, Fort McMurray lay just to the south of the worst of it.
The morning sun on Monday and Tuesday had a pretty striking orange/red hue to it as I waited for my bus to work. Monday was the worse day in terms of visibility (to me anyway) and air quality. I considered not going in to work on Tuesday but since it was my last work day I opted to power through it. There was a bit more of a breeze which made it more bearable and of course I drank water frequently through the day so in the end it wasn't as bad as I feared it might be.
This is the worst I've seen here for smoke since the summer of 2011. THAT was a long, dry summer and definitely the most smoke I had seen up to that point in my life anyway. I was actually starting to see more blue skies yesterday and that trend continued today. We still have high heat as we've been experiencing plus-30C weather for a few days now but that looks to be coming to an end in a couple more days. Things will cool down and become a bit more bearable in time for me to head back to work.
Overall, we've been pretty lucky here and we haven't seen anywhere near the number of evacuations as they've had next door in Saskatchewan. I lived there for a year in the early 2000's and visited a few communities so it was sad to hear the difficulties they are going through.
So in case you're seeing news reports and hear mention of Fort McMurray, I can assure you I'm doing fine. I'm missing not having air conditioning at the moment, but certainly not facing anywhere the challenges elsewhere so I can count myself to be quite fortunate. Having my front yard burned to a crisp from this mini-heat wave doesn't seem like such a big deal when I consider the larger picture.