Monday - July 8, 2024 - Heat wave will increase fire risk

☀ High 34C | Heat warning

Good morning!

One of the things I love most about this job is the fact that I can follow my interests, at least for a few thousand words. Each day is filled with new information, new topics, and new types of research. I can spend my time pouring over Transport Canada spreadsheets, baking a pie with a fair judge, or diving into decades-old scientific papers.

You can read the result of one of these latest deep dives below, where I got to talk with some folks at the Agassiz Research and Development Centre about a blueberry virus that hitches a ride on one of the weirdest little bugs in BC. If you want to check out the research centre yourself, later this month the facility is holding an open house where the public can chat to its scientists, research technicians, biologists, and farmhands.

– Grace

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Traffic & Weather

🌤 Local forecast: Langley | Chilliwack | Abbotsford | Hope

🚘 Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google, and find DriveBC’s latest updates.

🛣 Click here for links to road cameras across the Fraser Valley, including those for the Coquihalla, Highway 7, Hope-Princeton, Fraser Canyon, and Highway 1 in Langley and Abbotsford.


Facing the blueberry pandemic

The Fraser Valley produces nearly half of all Canada’s blueberries. Now, those fruits are in danger because of a small, and deadly, virus. 📷 Sodel Vladyslav/Shutterstock

It is coming for the Fraser Valley’s blueberries.

It hitches a ride on the needle-like mouth of an aphid and then it’s gone. Within the structure of the blueberry bush, it goes into hiding, replicating itself and passing copies onto other plants through the willing mouths of other aphids.

It is a scourge that has grown significantly since 2000, when the disease was first found in Abbotsford. Once infected, the blueberry bushes succumb to an inevitable death. When spring comes, leaves and flowers shrivel. Season after season they weaken, with some plants lingering for years before withering entirely.

Blueberry scorch knows no mercy.


Need to Know

🌶 Despite the heat, Hope and Mission are the only Fraser Valley municipality planning (as of Sunday) to open a cooling centres this week (details here for Hope and Mission); other municipalities suggest going to a pool, spray park, library, or recreation centre, if they’re open

🚔 A Chilliwack man’s body was found near Hope; police think he was killed [CP]

🏥 More and more BC hospitals are sending patients home to heal, rather than keeping them in hospital [Vancouver Sun] / The Current reported on how dozens of patients are being treated in Abbotsford’s emergency room, including one senior who was there for eight days [FVC]

⛑ Agassiz RCMP rescued a group of swimmers who had been blown away from shore while swimming at Harrison Lake last week [Agassiz Harrison Observer]

👉 Workers at Harrison Hot Springs resort have begun a short-term strike [CBC]

🚔 A car-jacker in Langley was only stopped after police officer drove thier vehicle into a truck the man had stolen [CTV]

💧 Seabird Island is under water restrictions due to pump station repairs [Agassiz Harrison Observer]

🤔 BC’s Human Rights Tribunal is deciding if it is the right organization to judge if former Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld engaged in hate speech [Chilliwack Progress]

⚽ The Vancouver Whitecaps celebrated the official opening of Sts’ailes Strong Mini Pitch with the First Nation [Agassiz Harrison Observer]

🟠 A new report shows Indigenous children in residential schools were used as free labour, experimental guinea pigs, and even brides and grooms [APTN]

🖼 A Chilliwack councillor isn’t a fan of one of the murals planned for this year’s festival, but his colleagues disagreed [Chilliwack Progress]

🏳‍🌈 Repeated anti-SOGI protests are frightening Mission’s queer kids, a principal says [Mission Record]

🚲 Are you looking to tune-up your cycling skills? HUB Cycling offers cycling courses for all skill levels, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just learning to ride a bike. Learn more here.*

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The Agenda

The fire risk across British Columbia increased significantly between July 4 and 7.

Heat wave will bring increased fire risk, campfire ban

A heat wave is expected to bring hot temperatures to southern BC and will significantly boost the fire risk across the province.

A cool, wet spring has left the southern part of the province with low-to-moderate fire risk as July begins. Campfires are still widely permitted, but with temperatures expected to near 40C in the Southern Interior, that will likely change soon.

Temperatures in the Fraser Valley passed the 30C mark this past weekend. In Kamloops, forecasts are calling for temperatures even hotter through the start of this week. The warm temperatures are expected to continue through the following week, ramping up the fire danger.

The greatest fire danger will likely come if and when the heat abates. The arrival of new weather systems is often accompanied by the stiff winds that fan flames and cause fires to travel and quickly grow. This spring’s wet weather, which kept fires in check through the start of summer, could also come back to bite the province; research suggests that wet springs can increase a forest’s fuel load. After prolonged dry periods, that new grass can turn into tinder for fires.

Abbotsford councillor wants city to brainstorm tourist attraction

Abbotsford is not known as a tourist mecca, but a local councillor wants the city to start brainstorming ideas for attractions that might attract visitors.

Specifically, an unnamed councillor wants their colleagues to back a motion declaring that they “approve in principle the concept of a tourist attraction for the City of Abbotsford and that the Economic Development department be authorized to work with Tourism Abbotsford to discern a suitable opportunity.”

City staff are already empowered to dream up tourist attractions for their colleagues to consider, but the motion, if approved, would launch a formal process in which officials would consider specific attractions that could be built to draw visitors to Abbotsford.

What kind of tourist attraction would you build in your community? Fill out this very short form and we’ll share your best, worst, and wackiest ideas in a future FVC Perspectives newsletter.


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🤝 Now hiring

Finance Manager at Ruth and Naomi’s Mission in Chilliwack

Diesel Mechanic at Can-Best Tire Services Ltd. in Abbotsford

Career Coach at Douglas College in Langley

Recreation/Activity Aide at ProVita Care Management in Agassiz

Apprentice Cheese Maker at Ridgecrest Dairies in Mission

Hiring in the Fraser Valley? Reply back and let us know!

🗓 Things to do

Gallery opening: The Reach Gallery Museum is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Emerge initiative, which helps Fraser Valley artists kickstart their careers, with a new exhibition showcasing the work from program alumni. The Emerge program. The exhibit will run until next march. Details online.

Skydiving: Cyrus Centre's Leap of Faith jump-a-thon takes place Thursday, July 11 at Skydive Vancouver in Abbotsford. All jumpers must have raised $800 before the event to skydive, although spectators are welcome. Registration and details online.

Trail run: The Chilliwack Trail Club hosts its 6-7-8 trail run every Monday. The group meets at 6pm at Sidekick Brewing, runs a 7km return route along the Vedder trail, and finishes with drinks until 8pm. Details on Instagram.

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Catch up

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