August 8, 2017 Williams Lake BC

Another lazy start to the day.  The original plan was to head towards a Provincial Park to spend the night and take in some sights, but as we were heading north out of Kelowna the smoke from the fires continued to get worst.  Ton finally said that maybe we should just get to Alaska and come back and see British Columbia after the fires were out.  It made a lot of sense as the intensity of the smoke is hard to describe.  

We rerouted ourselves towards Dawson Creek on the most direct route which took as thru Kamloops.  Kamloops had the most intense smoke we had seen so far on the trip, with visibility down to a mile or less in some places.  As we pulled into Kamloops there was a sign showing that Route 97 was closed due to fire activity.  As you can guess Route 97 is the direct route to Dawson Creek from Kamloops so we needed to reroute.  We ended up on a 80 mile detour around the fire to rejoin route 97.

The impact of the fire is massive.  Tonight we are staying on the grounds of the Williams Lake Stampede(Canadian for Rodeo).  Sharing the grounds with us are about 10 fire engines from various towns in BC and Alberta.  A helicopter with a water bucket just flew buy, and in the mall in town is a large Red Cross evacuation center staffed with about 20 people.  Talking to a local this is the biggest heat wave BC has had since the late 50’s and the most fires in one season since 1961.  Right now they have fire crews from all over Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and Chile.  It really is something traveling thru the middle of a natural disaster.

So despite our best intentions of taking it slow we are back in the miles per day race until we get north of the fires.

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