California dreaming?

In Focus, commentary by Andrew Tripp, May 14 issue.

I had a conversation with a neighbouring rancher the other day, and, as we often do when he drops by, we talked about the weather.

I asked him if the dry spell we are experiencing was normal, and he replied that it was not that unusual. However, it was his next statement that I found somewhat alarming. “If we don’t get a fair bit of rain in June, we may be in trouble,” he said.

I turned sheepishly to look at my own pasture, which was shorter than it should be at this time of year, and still not ready for the woolly creatures to graze, and shook my head. We do not have an irrigation system, relying solely on Mother Nature to do her job and provide us with lush green grass by the middle of May, yet here we are approaching month’s end with the prospect of having to either continue feeding our flock hay, or sell a number of our sheep to lessen the burden on our fields.

California has been in a state of drought for three years now, with little or no sign of relief on the way. Could B.C. be headed for the same scenario?  Possibly. With a significantly lower snow pack this year, and another forecast for next winter, what does the future hold for a region reliant upon that snow pack as well as an abundance of spring rainfall?

While there has been some precipitation of late, it may not to be enough to support those farms, both large and small that do not use irrigation.

The province’s Wildfire Management Branch has predicted a nasty wildfire season due to dry, hot conditions, and Environment Canada supports that prediction with their weather model for summer 2015. Temperatures are expected to be higher than normal, with below-normal precipitation.

Let’s hope both are wrong!

The Rock Creek Fall Fair will see significant improvements this year in the areas of fair entry and fee collection.

When I volunteered at the gate several years ago, I was amazed by the antiquity of the system. Money collectors would simply take the cash, stuff it in a metal box, and every hour or so somebody would appear to transfer the wads of $10 and $20 bills to a plastic envelope, which would then be whisked away to a secure location somewhere on the grounds.

The system was obviously flawed and in need of improvement, and this year visitors entering the fair through the main entrance will do so through four brand new wickets all equipped with cash registers. Organizers are also hoping to equip the campground entrance in the same fashion.

Pierre Sinclaire is the new entertainment director, and has included a talent competition in this year’s lineup. Audition forms can be found at rockcreekfallfair.ca.

Facelifts inside the grounds include reconstruction of the shade shelter, which was destroyed during a windstorm, and the booth facades will be sanded and repainted by volunteers.

Hats off to all of the people who work throughout the year to put together this iconic Boundary event!

Just Posted

Sunday update: dozens of new fires discovered yesterday in West, East Kootenay

Weather front moving through area sparks fires including in Syringa Provincial Park and Valhalla.

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Lightning sparks more than 20 new fires in West Kootenay

Fires burning across West Kootenay include Syringa Provincial Park and Valhalla.

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

UPDATE: Fire closes BC Hwy 3 between Salmo and Creston

‘Extreme fire behaviour’ of Blazed Creek fire forces road closure on main southern route to Alberta.

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

VIDEO: B.C. city to host Western Regional Quidditch Championship in 2019

The fictional game in the Harry Potter series has become popular around the world, with 600 athletes in Canada alone

Most Read