Wildfire Update (23 09 03)

A message from Executive Director Michael Shapcott, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023

Encouraging signs, but wildfire remains close to Sorrento.

Some rain and cooler temperatures are slowing the out-of-control Bush Creek East wildfire, though there are still plumes of smoke in the hills close to the Sorrento Centre and our farm. The heavy smoke shroud from recent days has thinned, though Environment Canada has renewed an air quality warning for our region due to wildfire smoke.

“Residents will continue to see active fire within the perimeter in the upcoming days,” says BC Wildfire in an official update on Sunday morning. “Crews will continue to work this fire over the next several weeks as the work becomes more labour intensive with ongoing cold trailing and mop-up.”

The Sorrento Centre and our farm remain under an evacuation alert – which means we are ready to leave on a moment’s notice – along with our neighbours in western Sorrento. The alert was lifted for east Sorrento, parts of Notch Hill and Blind Bay on Saturday afternoon. An evacuation order for some of our neighbours close to the perimeter of the wildfire was downgraded to an alert.

We are encouraged by the news that the wildfire is staying within guards established by BC Wildfire, the smoke is decreasing and some of our neighbours have been given the “all clear”.

Our Centre will remain closed until it is safe to re-open. Much of our staff are meeting Tuesday to review the situation. Our hard-working team, who evacuated almost 200 guests on Aug. 18 before leaving themselves, are taking a well-deserved holiday Monday. The ongoing assessment of the impact of the wildfire, smoke and power outage will continue.

While there are positive developments, the Bush Creek wildfire remains out-of-control and, in some spots, the fire has moved underground.

BC Wildfire reported on Sunday: “There are residual heat pockets – particularly in the deeper organic layers in some of our Douglas Fir stands. While these are unlikely to show much activity today, these are the areas that may present problems on this fire in the coming weeks. If there is a prolonged drying trend, [Bush Creek East wildfire] will become more active taking advantage of the heat where it can. Crews are taking advantage of the current downtrend to solidify control lines, mop-up hotspots and address any other heat identified in scans.”

The Revised Common Lectionary of the Anglican Church of Canada for today includes a reading from the book of Romans. Here are some excerpts:

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

We will post our next update on Tuesday, unless there are important developments to share before then.

We are grateful to our many friends near and far away who are holding us up in thoughts and prayers. We are grateful to those who are able to make a financial donation to help us as we continue to weather this crisis. You can make an online donation (one-time or recurring) or you can send a cheque to the Sorrento Centre, 1159 Passchendaele Road, Box 99, Sorrento, BC, V0E 2W0.

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