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Old 05-06-2016, 10:43 AM   #21
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Is it too soon to ask why this happened? Just bad luck?
I've heard that, several years ago, it was noted that the forests in that area are primarily 'old growth', i.e. trees in the last stages of their life cycle, drier, and more susceptible to fires, (which of course, is nature's way of "Out with the old, in with the new" vegetation wise).

That, plus hot weather, not much rain, and perhaps some strong winds, will do it.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:52 AM   #22
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The Fort McMurray wildfire is prominently featured in foreign news sources, including BBC and European media. It's a major humanitarian crisis and has taken a large chunk of Canadian oil sands offline, with minor effects on oil prices.

Few US media outlets think this might be of interest to Americans. And perhaps it isn't. When I meet Americans abroad, I find I have to do a lot of explaining; even Americans who travel frequently have little knowledge of Canada. In contrast, a few weeks ago I shared a taxi in Italy with an Australian. His son had worked at a popular ski resort an hour from my home and he was well versed in Canadian current events.

It's unfortunate that most American news outlets underemphasize global news. Informed Americans need to seek out foreign news sources to get a balance.

FWIW, I do this myself.
Actually, it's prominent on the CNN website (although not in the list of most read stories) whereas Al Jazerra English has it under a Trump story.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:00 AM   #23
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Is it too soon to ask why this happened? Just bad luck?
Forest fires have been happening ever since forests existed. All it takes is some dry weather and a spark.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:09 AM   #24
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Actually, it's prominent on the CNN website (although not in the list of most read stories) whereas Al Jazerra English has it under a Trump story.
Yes, the apocalyptic videos have increased the news profile. Yesterday it was a minor story on the CNN app.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:13 AM   #25
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Yes, the apocalyptic videos have increased the news profile.
Very true. I watched a video on the BBC website (compilation of folks evacuating) and it's very sad to see. Thankfully here in north Georgia, we don't have to worry about it too much. My DW's family is out in Oklahoma and they have had some issues in the past, but NOTHING compared to what's happening up there.

It's sad that it has to get SO BAD before it's mentioned by the media. I am glad there are online sources for "news", if we had to rely on the "good old days" of watching the national news at 7, it would be too painful to watch. Speaking of which, I tried to watch the ABC Nightly News with David Muir just to see how it's changed with the "new" anchor...it's just as bad as the cable news providers. Every single story in the first 12 minutes was "BREAKING NEWS!!!" Isn't the news broken enough?

Without getting political or off topic for long, I wish our elections were being held tomorrow. I am so sick and tired of hearing about it...and I do my best to ignore it, but geez...it's EVERYWHERE. Well...except here...THANK GOD!!!
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:23 PM   #26
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It's sad how ignorant the average American knows about our closest neighbors. Ask them anything about someone named Kardashian, stand back, they know lots.

Thanks for the links, scary disaster. Hope it's raining soon. Besides the 30 second "news" the only thing I've seen is a buddy from Minnesota posted how they expect some pollution from the blaze. Well go figure. Sure beats leaving everything you have lived with all your life.
Well now you know a big reason why.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:22 PM   #27
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Forest fires have been happening ever since forests existed. All it takes is some dry weather and a spark.
Well yea, but I don't recall ever seeing homes burned and people evacuated on this scale before.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:29 PM   #28
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Well yea, but I don't recall ever seeing homes burned and people evacuated on this scale before.
Not that long ago...

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The Bastrop County Complex fire was the most destructive wildfire in Texas history, striking areas of Bastrop County in September and October 2011.[8][9][10] Three separate fires started on September 4, 2011, as a result of strong winds caused by nearby Tropical Storm Lee, and merged into one large blaze that burned east of the city of Bastrop.[11] Two people were killed by the fire, which destroyed 1,673 homes...
The evacuation was less chaotic but the end result was equally catastrophic.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:34 PM   #29
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Well yea, but I don't recall ever seeing homes burned and people evacuated on this scale before.
From Wiki:

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Fort McMurray was granted the status of new town so it could get more provincial funding. By 1966, the town's population was over 2,000.
In 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) plant opened and Fort McMurray's growth soon took off. More oil sands plants were opened up, especially after 1973 and 1979, when serious political tensions and conflicts in the Middle East triggered oil price spikes. The population of the town reached 6,847 by 1971 and climbed to 31,000 by 1981, a year after its incorporation as a city.
More people, more evacuees, I guess.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:42 PM   #30
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Well yea, but I don't recall ever seeing homes burned and people evacuated on this scale before.
Towns and municipalities make up a very small percentage of the land in Alberta, therefore, the odds of a town catching fire are low. Adding to that, most forests close to towns have been cleared away years ago so that even if a fire is close it may run out of fuel or slow down enough to be put out before the town is in serious danger.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:12 PM   #31
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Towns and municipalities make up a very small percentage of the land in Alberta, therefore, the odds of a town catching fire are low. Adding to that, most forests close to towns have been cleared away years ago so that even if a fire is close it may run out of fuel or slow down enough to be put out before the town is in serious danger.
Interface fires, occurring where urbanization meets forest, are often human caused and are most likely to lead to large scale property damage. Fires that begin in the wilderness can spread rapidly, creating their own firestorm. Example: the Okanagan Mountain Park fire of 2003, which resulted in the evacuation of 27,000 (or 33,000?) people, the loss of 239 homes, and over 250 square kilometers of scorched earth.

Okanagan Mountain Park Fire

10 years later: Remembering the Okanagan Mountain Park fire (Gallery) - BC | Globalnews.ca

Thirteen years later, the Park is vibrant green. Creative destruction at work.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:42 PM   #32
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Towns and municipalities make up a very small percentage of the land in Alberta, therefore, the odds of a town catching fire are low. Adding to that, most forests close to towns have been cleared away years ago so that even if a fire is close it may run out of fuel or slow down enough to be put out before the town is in serious danger.
I was looking on the CBC web site and there was a description of when they bother to fight the fires: if very few live in an area (they give an example of the region where Manitoba Saskatchewan and Nunavut meet which has no settlements of any size they say in that area they just watch developments by satellite and let the fires do their thing. Here is a report on a 2011 fire n of fort mcmurray:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richardson_fire Note that the article says that on east side of the fire because there were no settlements the fire was left to burn itself out.

Note that the 2011 fire covered roughly 10 times the area of the current fire, 1.7 million acres versus 210 thousand acres.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:10 AM   #33
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It's causing issues here in Minnesota. It's very smoky outside, even here. I went out this AM and it even causes eye irritation, like you are sitting too close to a smoky fire.



Quote:
Event: Special Weather Statement
Alert:
...SMOKY CONDITIONS TO PERSIST THROUGH LATE MORNING...
WIDESPREAD SMOKE FROM BOTH THE LARGE CANADIAN WILDFIRES AND A
SMALLER WILDFIRE NEAR LAKE HATTIE IN HUBBARD COUNTY MINNESOTA HAS
BLOWN INTO CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA...INCLUDING THROUGH THE
TWIN CITIES METROPOLITAN AREA...DUE TO STRONG WINDS FROM THE
NORTHWEST...AND WILL LINGER OVER SOUTHERN MINNESOTA AND INTO WEST
CENTRAL WISCONSIN THROUGH THE LATE MORNING HOURS. VISIBILITIES
HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO BETWEEN 1 AND 3 MILES...AND AIR QUALITY HAS
BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED.
LIMIT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO PREVENT INHALING THE POOR QUALITY AIR.
KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED TO LIMIT INTAKE INTO HOMES AND BUSINESSES.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:25 AM   #34
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:28 AM   #35
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The comments below the video, about this guy, a provincial political party leader, are positive.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:43 AM   #36
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Apparently the smoke has reached northern Florida.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:28 AM   #37
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The Fort McMurray wildfire is prominently featured in foreign news sources, including BBC and European media. It's a major humanitarian crisis and has taken a large chunk of Canadian oil sands offline, with minor effects on oil prices.

Few US media outlets think this might be of interest to Americans. And perhaps it isn't. When I meet Americans abroad, I find I have to do a lot of explaining; even Americans who travel frequently have little knowledge of Canada. In contrast, a few weeks ago I shared a taxi in Italy with an Australian. His son had worked at a popular ski resort an hour from my home and he was well versed in Canadian current events.

It's unfortunate that most American news outlets underemphasize global news. Informed Americans need to seek out foreign news sources to get a balance.

FWIW, I do this myself.
Yes I totally agree. While spending the winter in Arizona I am constantly surprised and disappointed in the lack of international awareness displayed by Americans. Self absorbed and provincial in many (not all) cases.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:43 AM   #38
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Yes I totally agree. While spending the winter in Arizona I am constantly surprised and disappointed in the lack of international awareness displayed by Americans. Self absorbed and provincial in many (not all) cases.
Careful now, we must not offend the natives!

On a recent transatlantic cruise, I was struck by the number of Americans who planned to disembark in Italy and head straight to the nearest airport to take a flight home. What a missed opportunity!
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:52 AM   #39
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Yes I totally agree. While spending the winter in Arizona I am constantly surprised and disappointed in the lack of international awareness displayed by Americans. Self absorbed and provincial in many (not all) cases.

Arizona is a state! It's New Mexico that's a country...
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Old 05-08-2016, 06:52 AM   #40
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This wildfire is Level 6. It is creating its own weather systems. Water bombers are the equivalent of spitting in the wind. A major rainstorm is what's needed to quench it.
A retired forest ranger told me that man does not put out forest fires, weather does. The US Forest Service spends all its budget in the high-profile and politically correct but useless effort to fight fires, he says.

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