Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tinder Box (POTD June 21)

This past weekend I was in the Nicola Valley, near Merritt, British Columbia. This region is rugged and hilly, hosting a wide range of life. I spotted many different types of birds and other wildlife including Osprey, Clark's Nutcrackers, Cedar Waxwings, Brown Crow-birds, Robins, voles and more.

Tinder Box

This image tells the story of the forest floor in the Nicola Valley, which is a four hour drive from Vancouver. The forest floor is covered with needles and cones from Ponderosa Pine trees that are common in the area. These needles and cones form a thick cover over the mix of sedimentary and volcanic rock, creating a recipe for disaster if a forest fire were to breakout. To make matters worse, the Nicola Valley is one of the driest regions in Canada, receiving an average of 23mm or 0.9 inches of rain a year! I tested this danger by putting large bunches of pine needles in my campfire, and the speed at which these dry needles burned was rapid to say the least. I could easily see entire hill sides burning up in less than an hour.

As a side note, June is the wettest month of the year and it rained while I was there several times. I would hazard a guess and say that over the four days I was in the region there was 1-2mm of rain. The ground greedily sucked up the moisture within a few minutes of rain ceasing to fall and if you didn't seen the rain falling, you likely wouldn't know that it had.