Monday 13 May 2024

Yikes, What Does That Mean?

    Yesterday morning, we heard the “Thump, thump, thump” of a large helicopter getting ever closer to our house.  I went out to investigate, and saw the chopper come through the trees, then hover over the Fraser River, which is just below our property.  After hovering for a while, it rose, and I could see below it, dangling from a longline, a Bambi Bucket.   A Bambi Bucket is a large collapsible bucket used to collect water from a lake or river, which is then dumped on a forest fire.

    Ever since the forest fire we were evacuated from last year, our paranoia about fires has increased.  On Friday, over our mobile phones we heard the evacuation alert for Crescent Spur, the closest community west of McBride.  It is 25 miles, as the crow flies, from our property.  That fire, which was caused by a spark from the railroad, spread, jumped the Fraser River, and has burned 220 hectares (550 acres).  It is still not contained, according to the latest information from the Forest Service.

    When I saw the Bambi Bucket yesterday, I assumed that it was getting water out of the Fraser to fight the fire in Crescent Spur, but then the helicopter turned around, and flew east, instead of west.  This was very worrying, because we were not aware of any fires east of us, and the fact that it was getting water from the Fraser, close to our house, seemed to indicate that there was a fire nearby.  

    The helicopter, flying east, disappeared behind the trees, leaving us very concerned.  About fifteen minutes later, we heard the helicopter again approaching.  However, this time it was flying higher, still with the Bambi Bucket in tow.  It didn’t stop over the Fraser to fill the bucket, but continued heading west at good clip.

    I then assumed that the first time we spotted it, it was just testing the Bambi Bucket, and then once it was clear that it was working, it headed for the Crescent Spur fire.  

    Just as I was writing that last sentence, a helicopter flew by.  I went out on the balcony to see it.  It was a smaller helicopter with no bucket, probably heading to the Crescent Spur fire to check what it is doing.

    The area we live in is presently under “Extreme” Fire Danger, so I guess we have the right to be concerned and suspicious whenever we see something like a helicopter with a Bambi Bucket, picking up water in the river just below our house. 


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