by Mac Olsen
There was a mass exodus from Fort McMurray on May 5, as a mandatory evacuation was ordered for all residents.
The reports, photos and video clips coming out of Fort McMurray last week were an ominous reminder to me of the fires that devastated Slave Lake and area five years ago.
My only hope is that the fires hitting the Fort McMurray area won’t be as devastating as those fires. I don’t want to see the entire city razed to the ground.
Whatever the outcome, the residents of Fort McMurray are going to need support.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations now, for the humanitarian relief. You can go to their website at https://donate.redcross.ca/ea-action to make a donation by credit card.
Such donations will be imperative for those who lose everything.
Politicians have been making statements about the Fort McMurray situation.
NDP MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd Tweeted on May 3, ‘Thoughts continue to be with all in Fort McMurray region as well as the first responders”.
Interim PC leader Ric McIver issued a news release May 3:
“… the Progressive Conservative caucus is deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of residents of Fort McMurray, as wildfires continue bearing down on their community, and our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the evacuees and first responders, who are working tirelessly to fight these fires and ensure residents are evacuated safely.
“As we wait for the threat to subside, I encourage all Albertans who are able to make a monetary donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help support those who will need assistance in the coming days and weeks.”
Also last week, Smoky River fire chief Marcel Maure issued a fire ban for the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130. That has since been superceded by a province-wide ban.
Kudos to the fire chief and all the other municipal district and county governments for this course of action. This may make campers and other outdoor recreational enthusiasts, as well as property owners planning controlled burns, unhappy with the situation. But given what’s been happening in Fort McMurray, we have to take every precaution to reduce the risk of grass fires and wildfires.
I also hope that drivers who report what they think are out-of-control fires, will stop at the scene and make an accurate determination of what’s happening.
Smoky River Fire and Rescue and other first responders should not be called out unnecessarily to a suspected fire, only to learn that there was no fire at all.
Sending them out because of a false report could take them away from a real fire situation occurring elsewhere at that same moment.
So please, think and assess before you make that call to 911.
And in closing, help Fort McMurray residents in their hour of need. Whether its financial or material donations, they will need them – and our moral support.