Being from Toronto, I’m never really at risk of being caught in a wildfire. As an outdoorsman though, I’m well aware of the need for maintaining discipline when it comes to controlling your campfires, ensuring that they don’t get out of control, never leaving them unattended, and ensuring that they are fully extinguished before turning in for the night.
Last summer, the evening news was all ablaze with headlines about the bright orange sunsets and how the sky itself seemed to be burning. That was due to a huge wildfire up near the Thunder Bay area. The smoke was choking the air and affecting air quality hundreds, even thousands, of kilometers away.
Early on in my 3C Expedition, I came across the leftovers of that fire as I drove through northern Ontario. Many days later while in lower mainland British Columbia, I came across more evidence of wildfires that scared the hillsides and mountainsides with burned out and charred trees. As I pressed northwards, I came across even worse devastation of recently burned up forests.
Seeing this type of destruction wasn’t unexpected but actually seeing it firsthand left me in awe as I remembered hearing about wild forest fires on the news. Fort McMurry in 2016 is strong in my mind as one of the worst fires in Canadian history and because I have family there…the destruction, evacuations, and the thousands of lives turned upside down.
As my trip continues and I head north to the Arctic Circle, I am now faced with the realities of wildfires firsthand. A few key roads in northern BC and in the Yukon are now closed and unpassable due to wildfires that are threatening them. This leaves me with a dilemma. I may not be able carry on as planned but I haven’t come this far just to have my dreams go up in smoke. I either risk travelling through areas with active wildfires, or I take a massive detour into Alaska and go around the fire areas altogether. Fortunately I brought my Passport just in case I had to seriously go “off script” and deviate from my main plan and routes.
At this point, it’s to early to make a decision. All I can do is keep a close eye on the fires, road closures, and weather forecasts.
For now, I will carry on northwards towards the danger zone. Perhaps things will improve as I near the region. If not, I will try and detour through Alaska.
Please consider donating so that I can complete this trip in its entirety. Detours will be costly and it looks like I will have to make a few adjustments. You can help me out greatly by pitching in for fuel at GoFundMe (click here).