Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Slave Lake fires in Alberta

Wildfires are devastating the community of Slave Lake, Alberta, which is under an emergency evacuation order. You can donate to the Canadian Red Cross to help those who are now homeless, or seeking shelter. Such devastation there, along with the flooding in Manitoba.

In Twitter news:

 Jennifer Jilks 

 Ontario MNR 

Smoke seen rising from the wildfires near Slave Lake, Alberta, on Sunday, May 15, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Mike Kapusta)

Pembroke firefighters join fire fight in Slave Lake Alta.

Four firefighters from Pembroke, ON, are heading to Slave Lake, Alta. to help fight intense forest fires there. Thousands were forced to flee the small northern Alberta town over the weeken

If you have to have a disaster, at least it is in Canada. An emergency shelter and reception centre has been opened in Westlock, Alberta with additional operations established in the Town of High Prairie, Athabasca, and Edmonton, as multiple communities prepare to host families in need.

People are being housed in near-by (south east on map) communities. One-third of the town's 7,000 residents are being given accommodation in a gym, a place to sleep on a cot, and kit bags of toiletries. Aside from the physical resources, human resources in the form of RCMP, Ontario and B.C. firefighters and counsellors, are helping out.

The fire, they though was under control, heading south, but the wind changed suddenly, increasing to 100 km/hour and devastated firefights and the town. There is anger around this, as in any human-related trauma, but it was so sudden they thought the town was safe. Then the power went out as the wind turned, city hall burned, and the fire jumped two highways, exploded a truck stop throwing sparks into the wind.

 In a natural disaster, there is often much anger. The Ottawa Citizen article quoted a couple of residents who got out only with a bag of clothes. The print edition wrote: "I'm not worried about my house-it's material. It can be replaced,' Norman James said. 'It's the waiting game.", i.e. not knowing when it is over and done. It is difficult to be logical, and to find gratitude, but is is a healthy way to think.

'No residents were being allowed back into the town Monday because of a lack of potable water, power and gas.'

'Volunteers carried blankets and towels from the nearby hospital. Hot food and coffee was offered, and hot showers, diapers and pain pills were available. Volunteers also organized shuttles to take evacuees to nearby pharmacies and stores.'
Bless all those who are volunteering.

This guy sat in his truck. Many didn't have enough fuel to get out of town.


EG CameraGirl said...

Isn't it dreadful? Great post!

Powell River Books said...

This is so terrible. I remember camping at the airport on one of our Canadian flying trips. It was such a beautiful area. - Margy

Kay said...

This is so sad and so scary.