The Whistler-Blackcomb building maintance shop goes up in flames in a spectacular blaze.
My friend Paul Fournier called me at midnight last Monday to tell me there was a huge fire burning at Whistler’s Base II maintance area. I was in Vancouver just finishing up a day shooting the menu photos for restaurant, so I told him to go up and see if he could get a photo (Paul’s photo ran on the cover of the Whistler Question, pretty good for an amateur. My photos ran on the inside of both the Whistler Question and Pique NewsMagazine), and I’d try and make it up when I got back to town about 2:00 AM Tuesday morning.
When I got to the site, I couldn’t get through to where the fire trucks were parked for the main part of the fire, so I drove around to a rear service road and walked to the rear of the buildings through a little forest. There was a crew of Whistler fire fighters manning hoses there. By that time, they’d been working for two hours straight, and the fire was still burning at nearly full strength.
The roof of one of the shops caved in, causing a huge cloud of toxic smoke to blow over us, then the hose crews on the other side of the building sprayed over the burning building right into the forest where we were, turning the whole thing into a surreal, smokey visage. The shops were full of paint and plastic sign boards, and the smoke nearly knocked me to my knees.
By this time, it was way too wet and smokey to use my camera flash, so I pushed the camera ISO to 12,500 (as high as it will go), and hoped for the best. I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me, and the only way I could breathe was to tie a wet bandana over my face. I’d been sprayed with hoses and was soaked to the skin, and my cameras and lenses were completely misted over.
The low air alarms on these firefighters air packs were starting to ring, so I followed them out of the forest.
Cameras: Nikon D3 x 2
Lenses: Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8, Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8
Lighting: Nikon SB-900 flash.
Whistler Blackcomb Fire – David Buzzard Photography