A dry spring came early and with it, periods of heat that have literally set Alberta ablaze. It’s not unheard of – in early May, 7 years ago, we saw Fort McMurray (Fort Mac) go up, and in May 2011, Slave Lake lost hundreds of homes and other structures to wildfire. However, the number of fires this year has given us an “unprecedented” start to the season. Summer looks to be here in full swing, with the typical May Long Weekend Snow seemingly nowhere in sight (but don’t put your delicate plants out overnight just yet). Sadly, many homes have been lost to several fires this year, particularly in First Nations communities, though I haven’t heard of any casualties.
Currently, we are almost being affected by one fire, known most commonly as the Fox Creek Fire due to it’s starting location near the Town of Fox Creek.
Last weekend was particularly scary with very high winds and heat literally fanning the flames right towards us, but a good rain on Sunday settled it down and cooler temperatures during the week allowed the wildfire response teams to make some headway on keeping the Fox Creek and Little Smoky communities safe from it.
Unfortunately, another extremely unseasonable heatwave starting yesterday, caused most the 83 fires in the province, including 21 out of control fires, to get going again. Most of yesterday’s fire activity has been closer south by Fox Creek, but the Little Smoky region has been sectioned off with some areas getting a mandatory evacuation, some getting an alert, and some just waiting and watching (we were an alert, now we aren’t, though we are still almost sandwiched between a mandatory evacuation and an alert). We are hoping the winds will stay calm, and the response teams keeping us safe will be safe themselves. We are ready to evacuate if needed and will probably stay on pretty high alert until the summer rains start (at this rate, who knows when that will be!)
Thank you to all the First Responders in Alberta (and everywhere, really) helping to keep us safe!
As for the rest of the farm, we’ve been plugging slowly along. I’m not ready to try breeding the goats yet, so they’ll enjoying live as semi spoiled pets. I have tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants in the greenhouse, but thanks to the fire last weekend, we didn’t have the time or brain power to remember to put in a heater and the at-freezing temperatures one night killed almost all the cucumbers, and we haven’t had time to give it proper ventilation, it’s getting to 45c (113f)! The temporary cover we gave it will be getting replaced next year with 14mm hail proof plastic, so we cut some window flaps and use a fan and sprinkler to keep the heat as low as well can. The tomatoes and peppers are doing ok, though of course I was looking forward to cucumbers the most, for pickles!