An eerie silence descended upon the acrid night air. Lori’s eyes burned as she stood on the porch staring at the crest of the distant hill, her heart pounding. Waiting.
And then it was there. Two hundred foot flames shooting into the sky over the summit followed by a roar like a fast approaching freight train.
“Rob, it’s time,” she yelled.
Rob appeared with a half-eaten sandwich in his hands. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I’ll start hosing down the house. Go. The guys are expecting you.”
“Love ya,” he whispered before racing off to do battle with the advancing wildfire.
I wrote this in response to Charli Mills’ August 3, 2017 Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) use sound to create a story. And as always, she suggests we go where the prompt leads us.
I live in the province of British Columbia (B.C.) in Canada and it is burning. A blanket of thick smoke, like murky fog, has spread beyond our borders to our neighbouring province of Alberta and our American neighbour Washington State. The smoke from the interior has also spread to my community, here on the island. It is fire season. I’m sure this province is not the only one experiencing wildfires. But for now, officials have said this is B.C.’s worst fire season in almost six decades with 884 fires and about 588,000 hectares destroyed to date.
My short story this week is a small tribute to the thousands of men and women both locally and from around the world who have generously donated time, effort and funds to fight the fires, protect lives and homes, shelter the evacuees and help them rebuild in the morrow.
According to a Times Colonist article dated December 23, 2017, the 2017 BC Wildfire season statistics are:
- 1,351 fires in total
- over 3 million acres scorched
- 65,000 people displaced
- 509 structures destroyed, 229 of which were homes *
- over $560 million dollars spent to date to fight the fires
- unmeasurable are the financial costs to farmers, forestry and tourism industry along with the personal costs of all the lives affected by the 2017 inferno.
* This statistic was reported by a Vancouver Sun newspaper article dated September 20, 2017.