Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fort McMurray Fire

       By now most people would be aware of the dangerous destructive forest fire at Ft McMurray. Wildfires were in the area but on the weekend one fire suddenly went very wild. Windy hot conditions allowed the fire to go toward the city of Ft. McMurray. By Monday a mandatory evacuation of the city was ordered. The evacuation order was almost too late.

       Ft McMurray has a population of about 90000. There is about 1 1/4 roads out of McMurray. There's one divided double lane highway and a much smaller two lane highway . Since almost all people ended up on the highway , a massive traffic jam took place. Adding to the misery, there was no gas left in McMurray so people started with less than a tank of gas. It's a long way to another town with gas so people were stalled on the road with no gas.

    About 15000 people went to the north to empty work camps. 65000 went south toward Edmonton.
Now it's hard to imagine that many people on one road trying to get away. Once they were a few Km out of town they were out of fire danger but there was no place to stay.

    Ft. Mcmurray is 587 km northeast of where I live.

    You probably connect Ft McMurray to the massive tar sands oil development. The large mines and plants are in no danger as the mines have cleared all the forest. The city is located in a beautiful boreal forest area.

     So an emergency situation has made it very worrisome for us even if we are far from danger. My neighbor works at McMurray. He came home safely but it was a difficult trip.

     Now about 50 years ago there was no road to McMurray. It was a small isolated village. There was a railway to McMurray.

   At this time the fire is still out of control.