If you went into the woods today, it would have been OK as long as you left those self same woods before 4 pm.
You all know how much I like walking in the woods with Sooki and Dexter, but it might be a while before we're back in the woods I love.
This hot, dry Spring has created ideal conditions for forest fires. And sadly as you may have heard, those fires have happened and two of them are currently out of control here in Nova Scotia.
The fires have spread quickly and are over-whelming the fire fighters. The fire in Shelburne county in Southern Nova Scotia now involves 19,000 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres).
The fire in Tantallon, a community near Halifax is also out of control and has forced the evacuation of 17,000 residents and destroyed at least 150 homes.
Our trailer park (circled in purple) is currently just outside the evacuation area.
The Tantallon fire was first spotted at 3:30 Sunday afternoon and within an hour it had grown exponentially. The winds were high, spreading the flames and pushing the smoke far and wide.
On Sunday this is what we saw from our house. Later that evening things looked far more dramatic; not flames, but sky glow from the fires beyond the hill.
Monday the winds changed direction blowing the flames and smoke back in the other direction.
Today (Tuesday) the smoke returned.
Shrill cell phone alerts add to the anxious situation. We are on tenter hooks waiting for an alert telling US to evacuate the park.
It is important to be ready to leave at short notice, that means having the supplies (a "go kit") you need for at least 72 hours; things like medications, important papers, pets, pet food, toiletries, laptops, chargers and supplies etc. In our case that would include two cat carriers, a litter box, two dogs, two humans and all the necessary supplies in a Honda Fit.
The next thing you need is a place to go.
We are very lucky in that we had several generous offers from friends to accommodate our motley crew into their home.
In putting together our "go kit" I looked at all the things I'd be leaving behind; my family photos, paintings, small items I treasure that belonged to mum and dad. I had no room for them, and that weighed on my mind.
The friends who are taking us in, should we need to evacuate, pressed me to let them help with preserving those valuables. They drove for over an hour to come and pack our valuables into their car for safe keeping, thus taking a huge load off my mind.
This is such a stressful time. Not knowing what will happen. Friends in the park keep in touch on FB and share the mixed emotions we are feeling at this difficult time.
Tomorrow the winds will be higher and the temperature rising.
Which brings us to today at 4 pm when a province-wide ban on entering the woods -- ANY woods at all was put in place. Our fire crews are already over-worked. The last thing they need is someone to drop a cigarette butt in the woods.
The dogs and I haven't been for a walk in two days due to the air quality. And now, ALL the parks are closed. ALL of them.
And the stress continues.
I've never spent so much time just staring at the horizon and feeling anxious.
We are all hoping that the predicted rain on Friday actually arrives.