Letter – Fire conspiracy theories are completely ridiculous

The fires are awful, people’s homes and lives going up in smoke.

East Prairie has had 27 homes (14 occupied) and a bridge go up in smoke. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and more are waiting for the word to go. I am getting to the point I don’t jump out of my shoes when my phone blows up with alerts but the smoke gets to me.

The worst thing though the BS contingent is weighing in. As usual, they appeared in the comment section insisting all of these fires are the result of arson.

And that this was a plot that was either the result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (one guy was quite irate because the fires were burning on our richest oil deposits) or because of the election. Leaning into the NDP wanting to make our dear leader look bad. Burning up half the province isn’t necessary – she does that herself with her own words and half-baked ideas.

A slightly more subtle take would be that the UCP is setting the fires to get everyone mad at the NDP, because our dear leader looks like she is going to get her app handed to her via the ballot box.

Before everyone goes (crazy) a short Google reveals some – actually one – silent fact. Recently, we have had several major fires in northern Alberta. This year, which I call the Everywhere Fire, The Chuckegg fire, Drayton Valley Fire, and the Slave Lake Fire. The relationship to elections can be kind of alarming as a couple others occurred the same year as an election. The catch turned out to be they were after, not before.

The one thing they have in common is they all occured in May.

That our dear leader called the election when she did is on her. The fires, I don’t think, are arson. There is always a chance that someone will be careless or unlucky enough to start a fire. Some evil (person) might have started a fire but the idea that an elite squad dispersed into the wilderness defies belief. There are many ways a fire can start when it is this hot and this dry, none of them intentional.

What didn’t help is that the UPC, while under the wise guidance of former premier Jason Kenney, slashed the funding for, and laid off, over 90 elite firefighters. Neither did our dear leader’s attitude toward asking for federal help.

The NDP cut funding to forestry, too.

Once we get out from under this mess we must do something about the stupidity of letting people who have no idea what the rural areas are, or the dangers they face, make budget decisions.

Perhaps a feisty committee, with or without provincial support, to keep an eye on these guys and their bright ideas when they decide to make budget cuts.

This year, any money they saved with that 2019 budget cut will go up in smoke fighting these fires this year alone. Since 2013, we have had four major fires that went through what are to us major centres. The idea that either party started these fires is bizarre in the extreme, not everything is a plot even though the web warriors might like us to think so.

Hotter, bigger fires are becoming more common and what we really need is a party that can understand that and act accordingly.

Eva Sartorius,
High Prairie

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