Summer ends on a smoky note

Summer without smoke seems to be a thing of the past

With daylight fading daily, we watch as another summer season comes to an end in the South Okanagan – Similkameen.

After waiting through half of the summer, we’ve been fortunate enough to have benefited from some typical summer weather for our region, as witnessed by the initally beautiful weather we’ve had thus far in September.

What is sadly becoming an annual occurrence with the onset of summer weather is the deterioration of our air quality as wildfires crop up. The last part of this summer has been no exception, as yet another wildfire erupted on the Westside last week.  There have been numerous small wildfires locally in the past two weeks as well.

This Monday’s weather saw the Similkameen basking in a hazy sunshine brought about by the end of the season fires. We don’t seem to be able to get through a summer season anymore without pleasant days being diminished by haze and smoke.

The trend is bad enough that the province is getting a reputation back east for “burning up” every year, as heard during a recent visit in Ontario this summer.

This year’s end of summer has also brought with it a seemingly inordinate number of structure fires in the region, coming to a head last Monday morning with the loss of Oliver’s iconic high school. In previous weeks, structure fires have also burned buildings in Cawston and Princeton.

If ever there was a year in which our region could expect to have a smoke free summer, it seems to us that this would have been it, with less than 600 fires reported throughout the whole province so far this year.

Hopefully, what we have experienced is merely a blip in local fire activity. It would be a shame to actually have to dread the onset of a long, hot summer in our region, in future years.