Fire season is upon us … please be aware and prevent

By Mike Rainone for the News

Despite the warm weather, sunshine, and invigoration that we all feel with the arrival of spring and the magnificent approach of summer the dreaded down side of this time of the year is the vicious and unpredictable onslaught of the wildfire season throughout our pristine Province and beyond. As most people have been watching so very closely as of this past weekend there were 25 wildfires burning in Alberta, with four of them were out of control and the peak fire danger period usually coming in the latter part of the month of June.

When all of us hear of the onslaught of these summer wildfires we share a great concern for all involved. For our family it always brings back a lot of horrific memories, as several our relatives were caught right in the middle of the horrendous Fort McMurray fire beginning in the early days of May 2016. Like hundreds of other residents who were only given a few moments warning they just managed to escape the blazing rampage of flame and burning branches and headed out of town to safety. Along the way and for many long weeks after they were warmly welcomed by thousands of amazing volunteers, services, and support from throughout the province and far beyond, which thank goodness has and always will be front and centre when-ever a sudden request for assistance and care occurs. Unfortunately like hundreds of other Fort Mac families our grandson and his wife lost their home, but with great determination and assistance from so many they have been able to rebuild over the last three years, and their community spirits are high.

For those who didn’t know there were 1288 wild fires in Alberta in 2018 which covered 58,809 hectares of our pristine and precious wilderness. Of these fires 60 per cent were human caused, and 40 per cent were caused by lightning. These devastating and dangerous wildfires require the instant and ongoing responses both on the ground and from the air by thousands of dedicated fire-fighters and emergency personnel from throughout Alberta who put their lives on the line to distinguish the fire and assure the safety of the residents in the area involved. They are also willingly supported by other fire fighting specialists from across Canada and the United States who so willingly instantly pack up their equipment and travel here to assist with the raging fires. The annual cost of fighting these fires from personnel to the equipment required runs in the billions of dollars, which does not include the huge cost of clean-up, repair, rebuilding, and insurance claims.

So what can we all do to help prevent the 60 per cent of these devastating fires that are caused by humans, carelessness, and a disregard for the personal property and safety of others? Smokey the Bear has been declaring for decades that only you can prevent wildfires by always being extremely careful with fire, which has a mind of its own. Whether we are at home, at work, at play, or wherever, no one should ever play with matches or lighters, be a responsible smoker, and always make sure that our campfire, back yard barbecue, or any fire is always out before leaving it and letting the wind bring it back to full blazing and out of control mode. Thank for your support and understanding in this serious summer danger, and for encouraging others to respect the dangers and horrific results of fires, and to always play safe.

Now let’s have just a little fun

Nowadays I am finding that I am great at multi-tasking … I can listen, ignore, and forget all at once.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be like a Caterpillar? Eat a lot, sleep a while, and then wake up beautiful.

I am starting to think that as I get older I will likely never be old enough to know better….but what the heck, at the age of 76, they forgive me a whole lot easier.

My senior buddy sent me an e-mail last week informing me that as seniors we are rich beyond our wildest dreams.

We are blessed with silver in our hair, gold in our teeth, crystals in our kidneys, sugar in our blood, lead in our butt, iron in our arteries, and an inexhaustible supply of natural gas.

At the age of 76 I never thought that I could accumulate so much, and I promise never to complain again. Go Raptors Go and my wishes for all the rest of you is to have a great week, all of you.

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