Now for some bliss of a different kind. I had planned to go on this trip a few years ago but the world stopped spinning due to the pandemic. Now it is the time for some major eye candy. With pristine nature, lakes almost glowing in turquoise and emerald hues, snow capped mountains, glaciers, thick forests and an abundance of wildlife, I am more than ready to travel to the Canadian Rockies, in Alberta, Canada.
There is a caveat, due to climate change – drought and higher than normal temperatures has caused this area has be subject to an inordinate amount of wildfires. As of the date this draft was written there were 82 “active” wildfires in the Forest Protection Area. Most of these fires are now contained or under control.. This time period is usually normal for annual boreal wildfires that are beneficial in clearing away diseased/old trees and debris, but this year the wildfires started in March and to date there have been over 970. The blue fires represent areas outside of the Forest Protection Area of Calgary.
The areas I will be visiting are west and south of the Alberta fire area so hopefully where I will be going hasn’t experienced damage. British Columbia, the province next door to Alberta has now become the latest to experience an increasing rash of out of control wildfires – I do have a concern that based on wind directions, these can spread into Alberta, but fortunately, for now the prevailing winds are continuing to go north and east. I will be pouring over wind contour and wildfire maps daily as well as air quality effected by the wildfires’ smoke.
The extensiveness of the fires to date have been devastating and the smoke has been so intense it has actually reached across the continent to cause air pollution – even in New York. Here is an “orange out” with air quality indexes at dangerous levels, above the worst seen in Delhi, India. This was taken outside my window, untouched by any filters.
Sadly out of control wildfires are becoming a common experience. Recently I traveled to Beaver Creek Colorado and it too had experienced a protracted fire season. Ordinarily a normal fire season helps to clear forests and dead debris. Wildfires are nature’s way of regenerating the earth, allowing important nutrients to re-enter the soil, and creating new habitats for plants and animals to thrive. However, when fires run amok, the result is loss of habitat and devastation. In Beaver Creek, the forests had no wildlife to be seen and many areas were terribly scorched,
Horrifyingly, this is now a global reality – every continent with the exception of the polar caps have had excruciating heat, massive wildfires and destruction. While nature is amazing at repairing itself, it just can’t fight against this alone. It needs our help, support and protection.
Chasing Dreams will be on hiatus until my return, but I will be sending teaser photos to my Instagram account – check it out @cgurmann.