Monday, July 6, 2015

Missing Mountains

We used to have mountains in BC. We used to be able to see them from our deck and on our drives around town. But now they are missing, and it's so sad.

Currently, BC is battling over 60 forest fires. 

Chris Hadfield, our Famous (and awesome) Cdn Astronaut, posted this on Twitter today:

To put it into perspective, here is a comparison shot of Vancouver normally in summer (bottom), and Vancouver covered in a smokey haze. Wow.

{photo by Cheryl Smith}

Currently, two communities have issues States of Emergency due to wild fires: Port Hardy and Squamish Lillooet Regional District. Scary thought!

Metro Vancouver is also in a Stage 2 Water Restrictions, which means only watering once a week. A part of me thinks it seems counterintuitive; if it is so dry out there that fires are starting from absentminded people, then doesn't getting things wet make sense? But I also understand that we need to be consientious on our water useage due to it being so dry.  What a summer this is starting out to be!

When we were traveling up for our camping trip at the end of June, we drove past the fires near Lytton. We could actually see some of the orange flames at the top fires! It was fascinating, yet also worrying and sad.  I understand that wild fires can actually be good for us in the long run, but it's sad when you think of the forests being destroyed, the animals being displaced, the firefighters who put their lives at risk, and the air quality making it hard for others.

Last night, the smoke started to become more noticeable in our own neighbourhood. We could see it and smell it when we went out to visit family; it was disturbing. But it was also so hot out, that at bedtime we had to make a tough decision. Do we close the windows and heat up the house further to keep the smoke out? (it was starting to bother my breathing) Or do we bear with the smoke and keep the cool air coming in along with it?  In the end, we closed the windows. Man, it was hot and hard to sleep!

It's so easy for me to get anxious and worried over things that may or may not happen. My mind starts to think "Worst Case Scenario Thoughts", such as what if the air gets so bad that we have trouble breathing and it triggers asthma attacks in the kids? what if the heat doesn't cool down and we are overcome by heat exhaustion? what if we need to evacuate? Thoughts that I don't need to worry about, things that aren't likely to occur, but thoughts that enter my mind anyways.  (for some reason, I think of Pompeii and I wonder what it must have been like for them to see their skies cover in ash and smoke. I know wafting smoke from fires several thousand kilometres away and an erupting volcano above your town are different, but my mind doesn't always make sense!) I've been trying to focus my thinking by  praying for His Peace and meditating on His Word.

I was reminded of these two verses last night:

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  ~Psalm 56:3

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you. ~Isaiah 43:2-4

I am so thankful that we have firefighters bravely fighting to contain the many fires raging right now (and am praying for the families involved of the tree feller who died while working on one of the fires last night. It is a hard and dangerous job.), and I am thankful that God is in control of all of this and I can find strength in Him when I feel weak or worried. When I look to Him, I find that the stress does fall away.

Please join me in praying for the safety of the firefighters and volunteers and those involved in keeping our province safe, and in praying for health for those who are vulnerable (the elderly, young children and those with heart disease and diabetes and asthma were told to keep indoors in Metro Vancouver). 

Pray also for rain! (with no lightening)


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