Monday, 16 May 2011

Alberta on fire

It's been a crazy crazy couple of days.

Yesterday I was enjoying the fact that there was little in the twitter feed from news outlets. Must not be much bad news to report - peace has finally taken hold.

I was wrong.

Floods in Manitoba, Fire in Alberta.

By suppertime yesterday (Sunday May 15th) a Wildfire had forced the evacuation of the entire northern Alberta town of Slave Lake - about 7,000 residents.  (For my friends not educated in Canada, slavery has nothing to do with the name. The town is named according to Aboriginal tribe name, quoted from Wikipedia sources, summed up in this twitter post by @Damian6218 Cree word (sounded like slavey) became SlavĂ© became Slavey became Slave #Linguistics)

It is estimated that there was less than an hour to evacuate. Some people had barely enough time to grab their kids, pets and leave.  Minutes!  I read one account where the family had prepared in advance when they received the initial warning, (not evacuation). Packed up all their precious goods, and supplies, and when the fire did come, they did not have enough time to even load them in the vehicle before they had to escape.

The photos are not just devastation, they are complete incineration.  Mother Nature is incredibly powerful. We think we've done our best to "manage" Mother Nature with controlled burns, but when humans are careless, none of the efforts expended matter - tragedy results. Looking at the Provincial Active Fire Report statistics and a Provincial Government map Wildfire status report (sorry it's flash, not my choice), and another pretty good map here.  Not ONE of the fires they are tracking was set by lightning.  Although investigations are ongoing into causes of igntion, at this time it's thought that 100% are human caused.

There is some good news - apparently there are no residents deceased, missing or unaccounted for. The other not pleasant news, some residents interviewed recounted the cries of the forest animals. No doubt there will be many unhappy endings.

NASA had a satellite take photos of the area. Incredible.

The present estimate is 30-50% of the town has been razed - photos here and here. Aerial tour images here. Not just damaged. Gone.  Erased. And across the street in some areas - untouched homes, green lawns.

After the jump, there are some links for agencies assisting the human and animal residents of Slave Lake.

I thought I'd share a few of the agencies collecting goods or dollars for the displaced Slave Lake residents.

Also the City of Edmonton asks: People are asked to NOT visit Expo centre or drop donations there as this interferes with logistical support and to respect privacy of residents in temp shelter


Additional information that might interest you. (Well, they interest me… so of course you're interested!)

If you have special dietary concerns, are you prepared? Celiacs have a quite few reference sources., and has links and interesting information. Emergency food stockpiling info, not specifically for celiac, but with substitutions, a good list.

Check the internet and your local government emergency preparedness site for recommendations that might pertain to your specific needs. Canada's Emergency Preparedness site is a wealth of information.

And a note about pets and emergency preparedness, the Edmonton Humane Society has created a checklist to help you be ready.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Monica, this is great. This is very thorough. I got more info from your blog than from any news article or story out there. Well done! This devastation is so sad.