Sunday, July 19, 2020

Galiano Island Ablaze (short story) by Leanne Dyck

When you live on a remote island there's an ever-present danger that tourists may not be aware of--but should be. This short story explains.

'Galiano as seen from Mayne' photo by ldyck

Map of the Southern Gulf Islands

Galiano Island Ablaze

Usually Mayne Island (my remote island home) is quiet. In the summer, peace may be broken by a chorus of tree frogs, birds singing, dogs barking or even a vehicle driving down the road. But our world of tranquility exploded last Sunday night. Helicopters circled overhead. Were we being invaded?

Monday, a smell woke me--air thick with...something. 

I turned on CBC radio. Two words, that's all it took--'Galiano' and 'fire'. 

My husband is a volunteer firefighter. He's warned me, "We have 45 minutes to vacate this island if... 45 minutes." 

And...

"Things are so dry that all it would take is a spark."

So no beach fires, camp fires, wood stove or fireplace fires. No chainsaws. No bar-b-ques. No... 

We islanders know the dangers, heed the warnings.

But...

Tourists? Do they know the risk?

Rumour had spread that tourists were buying firewood, setting beach fires.

But...

And the worse had happened on Galiano Island. It was ablaze. 130 residents were evacuated.

Where would they go?

Remote island living breeds self-reliance, breeds community.

All Mayne Islanders answered as one, "Over here, neighbours. You're welcome over here."

Three Mayne Island firefighters went over to help battle the flames.

On Tuesday, I attended an art council meeting. Present were members from Mayne Island, Saturna Island, Pender Island, and Galiano Island. The members from Galiano Island set our worry to rest, "We're all working together. The fire is contained. Don't worry. We know what to do and we're doing it."

Yesterday, I turned on the radio and heard, "Galiano Island evacuees have been given permission to return home."

The worse is over, but we all must remember to be careful. 

This short story was inspired by a true event that happened in the early 2000s.


'ferry terminal' photo by ldyck

More...

State of Emergency Declared As Fire Menaces Galiano Island

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photo by ldyck

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'Galiano' photo by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...


I'm working on a project that required lots of research. Last week I was trying to figure out how to stuff all that research into the story. Saturday I woke up--the story isn't being written to serve the story. And I feel much better. Each manuscript comes with its own challenges. This one is requiring a great deal of focus.


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photo by ldyck