This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

City-Ravenous Flames of an Unstoppable Wildfire

"We still have some people hanging around and we are trying to ensure everyone's safety. Right now we have special tactical operations inside the city looking to make sure that there is nobody left behind."
"They [people insisting on remaining in the evacuated city of Fort McMurray] are not giving us a reason. They are just refusing to go."
Sgt. Jack Poitras, Alberta RCMP tactical team

"We're still here, we're still battling. The beast is still up. It's surrounding the city, and we're here doing our very best for you."
Darby Allen, regional fire chief

"Let me be clear: air tankers are not going to stop this fire. It is going to continue to push through these dry conditions until we actually get some significant rain to help us."
"I expect this fire to continue to grow over the next number of days."
Chad Morrison, Alberta Forestry
Jonathan Hayward / Canadian Press
Jonathan Hayward / Canadian Press   A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 
kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Saturday.

The firestorm that has ravaged Fort McMurray, sending almost 90,000 people in a desperate rush to escape the flames continues to defy all human efforts to douse its ferocious path, consuming all before it. And those fleeing the wildfire have the eerie feeling it is following them. Climate change is being pointed out as part of the problem in dry conditions feeding the flames, while forestry protocols to douse small natural fires to protect houses built at the forest's edge, leaving behind tinder-dry forests stacked with the fuel for those wildfires are also to blame.

The province has announced the intention of the government to provide immediate financial relief to the 90,000 evacuees who have suddenly been deprived of all their possessions. Adults will receive $1,250 each and dependents $500, at an estimated final cost to the province of $100-million. But that cost is relatively little compared to the lost GDP from the fire impacting on oil extraction and business placed in abeyance.

Scott Olson / Getty Images
Scott Olson / Getty Images    Smoke from wildfires drifts across the night sky on Saturday near Fort 

Add that to the monumental cost of rebuilding, replacing everything that has been lost and it's a staggering loss to an economy already at a monumental low point as a result of the collapse in oil prices.  Over 20,000 residents of the city displaced by fire evacuation orders have found haven north of the city, in oilsands work camps after the fire cut the main road through Fort McMurray causing residents to flee both north and south.

Hotel, campgrounds and friends' homes have served to temporarily house many of the evacuees who went south instead of north. Last Wednesday the number of structures in the city that were destroyed by the wildfires was put at 1,600, and there has been no update since. This will not, it seems, be the last Alberta will hear about wildfires in this year of 2016. The official fire season for the province has six months left to go.

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