17 May 2011

Province on Fire - May 2011

Fires are raging across the province of Alberta, particularly in northern Alberta, which is heavily forested.  According to the news report this morning, the cause of wild fires is either man-made or nature made.  The newscaster today said there have been no known lightning strikes, thus indicating the fires; of which there are 115 currently, 36 of which are out of control. (as of Monday, according to Global News); are thought to be caused by man.

Most heavily hit are Slave Lake, Little Buffalo area, Boyle, Grassland, and Thorhild. The town of Slave Lake saw more than 7000 residents evacuated and more than 40% of the town has been destroyed by the fire.  Structures burned to the ground include the local library, town hall, churches and several homes.  There have been no casualities.

The following is a map of Canada showing the fire danger zones as of today, May 17, 2011.  The premier, Ed Stelmach, is cautioning people to be careful in their activities so they are not contributing to the disaster.  Off roading, quading, smoking, and unwatched fires are the most common human contributors to wild fires.

LOW Fires likely to be self-extinguishing and new ignitions unlikely. Any existing fires limited to smoldering in deep, drier layers.

MODERATE Creeping or gentle surface fires. Fires easily contained by ground crews with pumps and hand tools.

HIGH Moderate to vigorous surface fire with intermittent crown involvement. Challenging for ground crews to handle; heavy equipment (bulldozers, tanker trucks, aircraft) often required to contain fire.

VERY HIGH High-intensity fire with partial to full crown involvement. Head fire conditions beyond the ability of ground crews; air attack with retardant required to effectively attack fire's head.

EXTREME Fast-spreading, high-intensity crown fire. Very difficult to control. Suppression actions limited to flanks, with only indirect actions possible against the fire's head.

NIL No calculations were performed for this region.

Take care out there and may God bless those who've lost their homes and property in this disaster.  You can contribute aid by dropping off bedding and supplies at Citytv Edmonton on Jasper Avenue, and contacting Canadian Red Cross.

The number to call concerning evacuated relatives 1-800-565-4483.  Check CTV & CBC Broadcasts for further information.  Slave Lake website.

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