May 13 - A 4-hour trail rescue

Mainland fire grows, & so do Islanders' summer concerns. 3D-printed guns seized. More Aurora photos.

Good morning !

Welcome to another week, this one nearly halfway through May. This past weekend had many locals looking up into the dark to glimpse a sight of the lights.

But elsewhere in BC, dark smoke interferes with the daytime sky as a new major fire burns near Fort Nelson. It's a potential reminder of what is projected to be a bad season for fire and drought. The latest update on that below.


Are you concerned about fire and/or drought on the Island this summer?

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Today’s approx. read time: 4 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: 18 / 9

Tomorrow: ☀️ 19 / 9

Day after: ☀️ 19 / 10


As new BC wildfire displaces thousands, Islanders fear dry summer

The Island remains among BC's worst regions for snowpack. Map: RFC

An out-of-control mainland fire near Fort Nelson has grown to 53 km2 and displaced 3,500+ people. Officials now say they may need to make a “last stand” if it keeps encroaching on the town itself due to today’s projected winds.

On Friday, while in the Okanagan announcing new firefighter funding, PM Trudeau said it islikely to be a bad forest fire season” this summer, on the heels of Canada’s worst season on record last year.

A BC Wildfire Service hiring push, as well as trainings for First Nations communities, is underway. But many in Island regions affected by last summer’s Cameron Bluffs and Newcastle Creek are already taking precautions as individuals or as a community.

Island snowpack remains at just 49% of normal 

In Thursday's River Forecast Centre (RFC) report on May 1 data, BC as a whole had just 66% snowpack, with the Island among five regions below 50%. That BC average is an increase from April 1, but one described as a delay in melting rather than an improvement. These numbers have yet to account for the ongoing early-May warmth.

Black line shows 2024 snow supply relative to range of past results. RFC graph.

BC faces “significantly elevated drought hazards for this upcoming spring and summer,” per the report. Mid-April is typically the peak of total snowpack, so these reserves are unlikely to increase—although they could melt more slowly than usual.

Per the RFC, over the course of this year weather trends will likely shift from warmer El Niño to cooler and drier La Niña. 

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Sun & cloud this week, with some wind today.  

Spring COVID boosters will be available until June 30. [BC]

Canucks go up 2-1 with Sunday win over Edmonton.

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


3D-printed “ghost guns” seized multiple times this spring in Westshore, RCMP say

Examples of 3D-printed guns. Photo: Photo: Combined Special Enforcement Unit BC

Saanich and West Shore RCMP say that they found a 3D-printed gun while executing drug-related warrants at Colwood and Langford residences late last month. The month before, a year-long RCMP probe into drug trafficking turned up multiple 3D-printed handguns (pistols) from searches of three residences, police say.

These “ghost guns” are untraceable due to lacking serial numbers, and their creators use legal (and increasingly widespread) technology to create illegal weapons. While printing blueprints aren't able to make entire guns, they can be used to create parts that are then finalized with a separate kit.


Luncheon meeting at the Hotel Grand Pacific

May 27 at 11:45 am

(Note the change of meeting date from the published program)

The guest speakers at this month’s CCV luncheon are Gwen Anholt and Lynne Van Luven, co-chairs of the Victoria Chapter of Dying With Dignity Canada. Since 2016 when Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) became legal federally, thousands of Canadians have accessed it. Gwen and Lynne will discuss the law as it is applied in BC.

Gwen and Lynne have been volunteers with Dying With Dignity Victoria for seven years. Gwen is a consultant in leadership and communication and a former government public servant. Lynne is a former journalist, a retired professor of writing and an editor.

Non-members are welcome to attend.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🐐 Mother goats get their day in this slideshow from Beacon Hill Children’s Park.

🏡 Discover the elements of living at BELLA PARK at Royal Bay. West Coast contemporary 1 and 2 bedroom residences, designed around a unique central wellness concept. Register today.

🏵 Photography & illustration merge in these flower pictures. [@work_the_angle]

🤝 Now hiring: Director of Operations (Nanaimo) at Together Against Poverty Society.

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Fire-truck-loving kid meets life-sized version of his toy
After a local mother briefly glimpsed a Japanese fire truck on Broughton that matched her son's toy, online locals helped her connect with the owners and organize a visit. [CHEK]

Colwood Corners buildout ramps up with 6-storey on Jasmine restaurant site
The first residential building on the “Colwood Strip” will be this 80-unit rental, but the neighbourhood is poised to add thousands in a multi-decade project that could include some of the Island's tallest buildings in Island history. [Citified] Langford has also approved a new 6-storey: a 103-unit Marriott that will be just its third major hotel.

Rescuers carry injured hiker off Juan de Fuca trail for four hours 
The Juan de Fuca and Metchosin teams worked late into Thursday night to stretcher the hurt hiker “through very technical terrain.” [Facebook]

Rescue photo (cropped) from Juan de Fuca SAR

🗓️ Things to do

 📖 David Sedaris: The American humourist and comedian returns to The Royal Theatre. Today. 7:30pm. [Info]

🎸 Murray McLauchlan: The Juno-winning musician will perform at McPherson Playhouse. Today. 7:30pm.

🎥 Drive My Car at Cinecenta: The Academy Award winning Japanese drama film will be shown at the UVic theatre. Today. 6:30pm.

📅 What’s on this week: Subscribe to This Week In Vic to get the full list. 

👀 In Case You Missed It

Aurora over Victoria: Changes for Saanich Fair. More bylaws on bears & garbage? [May 12]

Our stories of Island mothers and grandmothers, collected here

Island of the Apes: The new Planet of the Apes won the weekend box office; its predecessor was shot partly in Tofino-Ucluelet back in 2015.

Making yards into meadows: Find out why locals are doing just that in this story from our archives.

Hundreds marched in the “Our Women are Sacred” walk for Red Dress Day last weekend. [Photos from Colin Smith]

Empire Donuts opens Duncan location: The new kiosk is in The Old Farm Market.

Saanich Fair will add alcohol and change setup of carnival ride section. [Tasting Victoria]

Aurora in the rearview

The geomagnetic event has now dissipated, but its memorable appearance brought plenty of awe-struck stares and photos. Among those were a few sent in by Cathy and Peter Weston, including this shot of Island View Beach.

In our Sunday poll, just over half of you said you missed the display of lights. Some missed it due to other priorities (such as sleep), others could not see it with the naked eye from their area, and some just plain forgot.

Several readers described falling asleep too early, with one phrasing their disappointment almost as colourfully as the sky that they missed: “Went to bed...didn't realize it was happening really...poop head me.”

Among those saying they saw the lights, some had needed a bit of help: “It looked like grey streaks,” one reader recalled, “until I took a photo with my phone and then the wonderful colours appeared!”

But for many of you who did stay up and look up, the Aurora Borealis proved to be truly a sight to behold.

“The most amazing night sky ever I have seen in my 73 years,” reads one poll respondent's rave review.

Here's one more submitted photo, this one by Inka Sass in Saanichton.

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