649 Days. It has been a week of fire and brimstone. The weather may cool slightly, but moisture is what is badly needed. Forest fires of that magnitude can take months to cool down. One interviewee said it was like a War, and they lost it. They are the Refugees. It is a week many m0ther’s in Alberta would rather forget.
The fire is burning away from the affected areas finally, but then eventually the topic will turn to rebuilding. People are too distraught for that now, but thinking about it is a diversion. Less flammable building materials, but to what point? Wider fuel reduction fire guard buffers but to what point? Not much could have survived that short of going underground. It could be possible nothing could be economically justified when faced with such an asymmetric risk. Temporary on site housing is an immediate need, but with an eye to a longer range than usual. How intact are the existing water, sewer, gas, and electrical hookups? Can you leverage the existing sewage capacity using temporary holding facilities for a male dominant workforce with less water volume required?
Thinking a complete rebuild to functional status from zero. I see they are already thinking on the wrong tack building far too small too soon when high volume accommodations are needed for primarily construction and skeleton operational staff. Sorry, mom. Stay away until we can get enough forces there to even get it ready to build for families where all services of 50 years have been destroyed overnight. Welcome back to the Wild North, 49.99 years ago. You need a city. We can’t pull one out of a hat. Even close like Lac La Biche isn’t really do able. This requires serious logistics engineering. 5 years target would be too soon.
Of course this is made even more impossible by6 forcing them to sideline their best engineers to facilitate corporate climbers. They will tell people at the top what their wives want to hear, ensuring 100% chance of failure. Nobody knows that better than me. The wrinkle this time is that they failed and got burnt to a crisp. I can see how they will arm up to be an even bigger failure this time because they have the perfect opportuinity to do so with exactly the wrong people in charge with the wrong priorities getting ahead of their ability and wasting valuable time and resources on their own personal conveniences of minimal goal achievement consequence. That is just an eloquent way to say They are not a luxury we can afford at this time. Back to Zero means Back to Zero before trucking in all the conveniences of home. This will not be home. This will be a full on construction zone, and for construction assets only initially. If your family wants to visit, buy a plane ticket, and tell them to bring tents and food and water. This is the End of the supply line, yet regulars always think it is their personal supply line when they get there. A ten dollar bill for a pint of bottled water would go far to educate them, but a hundred would be more realistic. The first buildings will necessarily be for the building builders.
I can see people trying to reinvent the wheel everywhere on that one. They weren’t there at the beginning. We were. There was nothing. That is how it got built so fast. Civilization was known to be a luxury, and one you certainly can’t afford at this stage. Each water waster they insist carrying on site will get rid of at least 5 construction assets. Leave them all in the city, because you will be busy for 5 years making a dent in the frontier again from the rubble of the 50 year head start. It will be a stag party again like it used to be. I know how it goes there more than others. Everybody wants to be General George Patton setting up in the enemy’s castle, but optics are last in line here. There has to be an entire re prioritization process employed from the get go.
Speaking of all that, they point out that hospital, schools, sewers, water, gas, and power are still largely intact. Infrastructure has to be assessed further, but it’s a good start. That is coming from Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety, of the Canadian Federal Government. Recovery won’t be quick, and it wont be easy. They are thinking along the same lines now, but realize they are a long way from a restart too. They realize it is going to be a tricky game of pick up sticks from this random wipe out of the entire slate back to basic. Meanwhile, Husky operations had to halt for fire getting too close today, so while largely reduced, that is still a negative factor yet.
How would you approach that? Park model RV’s to support building base camps? 12 hour shifts using shared accommodations? It gets terrifically cold there. Clock is ticking to prepare for that. Service it with natural gas versus LPG wherever possible, or where existing NG infrastructure can be maximally utilized. Rezone residential back to industrial support temporarily to do it over 5% of the foot print of a rebuild. Cut out retail warehousing with direct delivery of construction materials and local secure storage and supply. In corporate GIS into supply lines with JIT manufacturing to assembly routing of finished product assembly materials. It could be a special case opportunity to employ new tech to get astonishingly rapid results. Hold that thought though because it is all still burning.
People are actually getting caught up in this from all angles. From James Taylor to Lottery winners. I am still fighting ex-smoker cravings, but I am caught up in it all too. It is the top news no matter where you go.