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'All You See is Red Flames': State of Emergency as Wildfire Rages in Alberta


#1


#2

I wonder if anyone sees a connection between the cars and trucks evacuating Ft. McMurray and the inferno they are running from.


#3

Welcome to your new western reality. I've lived in Montana for 40 years, wildfire is part of the summers here. Over the last 20 years the fires are becoming bigger, hotter and more intense. If you read into the history of wildfire in the late 1800's and and early 1900's we had fires in middle US and western US that took out entire towns. I work with a retired wildland firefighter and as the Washington fires raged the last couple years he had always postulated we would see an entire town, not just outlying neighborhoods, burn to the ground. And with each new year I think he's right.


#4

The future will overwhelm us. This will not stop in the years ahead. The world will never be what it once was again. Dying seas and burned out landscapes.

The tragedies and the misery that lies ahead will start to overwhelm us. Later this year will come massive hurricanes and likely incredible tornadoes and still the fires will burn as the fire season follows along with the unending drought all year long. Meanwhile the greedy fools ensure that the worst will happen. Greed doesn't care about the suffering it creates? Wait until this fire is no longer headlining the news and see some fossil fuel apologist 'explaining' why we still need coal and oil and fracking poisoning water resources.


#5

This is an apocalyptic vision that could be far worse if the tar sands or its industrial site could be set afire - I have no idea if that's possible or not but any possibility - like an underground coal fire - is frightening.


#6

Yes, I can see the irony of the Tar Sands capital being in flames. But bear this in mind -- it's not the only fire burning right now. Last night (among other fires) the Alexis Sioux Nation suffered a serious fire, losing some houses. They are a poor band which never made a penny off of oil. Not to mention all the wildlife, whose only encounters with cars are occasionally being hit by them. So temper your schadenfreude if you can.


#7

Last year Olympia Nat. park burned. It is a pacific coastal marine rain forest and is perhaps the wettest place on Earth. It was that dry though. Similarly there are wildfires in wet forests elsewhere ( coastal marine ) up in Alaska and Canada that are not known to have forest fires. It saddens me that even those gems that we have preserved - the national parks and preserves here in this country and around the world cannot be protected against the effects of climate change. We as a civilization applied the primitive slash and burn mentality of use it up and move to a new spot and do it again to our planet but used modern technology to do it. Now there is no place left to move to.

To paraphrase an old lyric... We eat the seed corn.


#9

At present the cause is unknown. We've had a extremely warm winter/spring with little snow and the forest is tinder dry, so the fire could have easily started from a number of causes.


#10

I'm happy to report I was wrong. All the houses on the Alexis First Nation are safe at present. But the fire season may be SIX MONTHS long this year.


#11

No it isn't. It a wild fire brought on by dry hot conditions. People underestimate the danger when forests become too dry. Lightning strikes set them off as do careless folks tossing a cigarette out the window. This fire is mostly attributable to the drying out caused by global warming. We call it drought but what do you call it when the rainfall patterns change permanently? I call it the Drying Out.


#12

Yep, that was an oh shit moment when a RAIN forest is on fire. I've talked to a number of folks that hike in the Cascades year round and there just isn't much snow (not sure about this last winter but was true for 2014-15 winter.) As I take my kids into the woods I always try to stop and have them observe and take in all that is around them. I want to instill in them the importance of nature, wild places, and protecting them. I have begun to reserve myself to the new reality and am trying to enjoy as much of the wild places around me while they are still here.

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am -
a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.
Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and
adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more
important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out
there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out
yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run
the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly
for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely,
mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your
head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and
alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory
over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts
in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I
promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

― Edward Abbey


#13

The fire season in the USA extended throughout the year. A permanent fire season in effect.


#15

Folks this IS a forest fire. It originated in the forest some distance away from the nearest tar sands plant.

The tar sands themselves are not considered flammable unlike coal.

Coal can be shovelled into a firebox and Ignite which is how coal furnaces work. Do this with tarsands and the fire would go out with nothing to burn.

This is why for many years it was deemed useless as a fuel source. There have been several major forest fires in that area over the years but most were quite a ways further from the townsite itself which is why most never heard of them.


#16

Great comment and one I empathize with. I like you took my kids to the many wild lands and forests I had visited when I was a young man traveling about with a backpack and camping all across the west back in the days when dinosaurs roamed. I went to Olympia and hiked 25 miles back and my foot squished every step of the way. fairy moss hung from every limb and branch, huge ferns like from dinosaur movie set and massive old growth trees. A hard place to find wood dry enough to burn. Twenty five or thirty years later, I took my city raised kids out for their first camping overnighter in the real woods. I told them all about the tolkeinesque forest like they'd imagine in a fairytale. It was great and awesomely beautiful but the ground below our feet was often dry. The wispy hanging moss was mostly gone and dry to the touch. Twenty years after that, I read that for perhaps the first time that the Olympia rain forest was aflame.

The future will likely overwhelm us. I pity the young that their children will see that era of misery and trouble. We showed our kids the passing of the world as our ancestors knew it going way back in time. That Earth is now becoming the Anthropocene Earth where everything exists only in relation to humanity. We showed them what will be gone for their children.


#17

And we still need cars and trucks and airplanes.


#18

I agree which is why I fulminate against the purists. To me having electric cars and trains is a very important step even if we still use fossil fuel for planes. Eventually we will have non polluting planes someday. First steps first!!! Electric cars and no gasoline or diesel vehicles would help a lot.


#19

You confirm my point.


#20

I don't know about Canada but in the US not not climate change but forest management also plays a role. It would seem rather risky to live in these forested areas but people seem willing to rebuild with the insurance money after their houses burn down. Apparently it is a way of life.


#21

Thanks for explaining, I had wondered if the tar sands itself could catch fire.

I might have accidentally flagged you, so sorry.


#22

No, this was a way of life. The statistics are already being accounted for. This burn will be compared with those that preceded it. How many acres will be consumed in comparison to last year and the many years that came before it. Global warming trumps forest management. All those people without shelter. The actuaries will adjust their calculations and less and less insurance will be paid out until the costs will become prohibitive and we will be assured of nothing.