Day 645. Today the fires were even worse. 1600 homes lost. It was an odd spring dry warm spell with wind whipping up wildfires. Canada is a very cold country usually, and we all rely on Fort McMurray a bit for fuel, even if it just takes the load off other sources of supply. We are still in a polar climate zone generally in a perpetual battle to stay warm. Then this happens. As of 6 PM MDT, nowhere is safe there in the city of Fort Mac.
Naturally, energy became Canada’s main industry until the sag over the last two years. This adds insult to injury or vice versa. You could say it was an overextension of civilization into the wildness that was at the root of this. A lot of our eggs were, and still are, in that energy basket up there. When oil price sagged, our currency consequently sagged along with it, not the domestic price of energy. Now this chicken has come home to roost in a foreseen, but unavoidable, way. I know that they widened the fire guards around the city over the last decade. Not wide enough to stop a perfect fire storm like this though. The next meaningful rain may be next Monday.
Five years ago in 2011 this happened in Slave Lake when a wildfire whipped over the town of Slave Lake. Again it was an attempt to bring civilization to the wooded wilderness. Fort McMurray may have even lost the airport to this though, but the webcam just stopped working. Words can’t describe feelings for what is happening there when you know all the places they are talking about. It is surreal.
On top of all the immediate problems Fort McMurray faces, are the vector dangers there. All those open sewage sumps in old base camps now being used for evacuees have the potential to add even more hurt. The insect population will explode with the higher temperatures. The vectors there have accumulated additive pathogens and diseases from around the world’s oil fields. Our medical support knows nothing about it either. They will have to build a giant psych wing to sweep it all under the rug.