Blog Archives

Forget Smokey the Bear: How First Nation fire wisdom is key to megafire prevention

annie-kruger

Annie Kruger was the last firekeeper appointed by her people, say family. Her granddaughter is in training to take over, but has more to learn yet, and the tradition tapered off with Kruger’s death. (Don Gayton)

Fire prevention policies of the past have created conditions for today’s out-of-control blazes, experts say

By Yvette Brend, CBC News, July 15, 2017

The grandchildren of Annie Kruger remember her lighting an Export A Green cigarette, throwing on her logger’s jacket and heading out to set fires near Penticton, B.C.

Before she died she was a firekeeper — as were generations before her in the Okanagan region of the province — and it was her job to use flames to purify the land by setting fire to berry bushes, hillsides and even mountains to renew growth and clear brush and create natural fireguards. Read the rest of this entry

‘We’re not leaving’: Tempers flare between First Nation, RCMP amid wildfire evacuation order

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Chief Joe Alphons of the Tl’etinqox First Nation said 300 people from his community have stayed behind, choosing not to obey an evacuation order for the area. (CBC)

‘Community stress levels were really high … I kind of lost it a little bit,’ chief says

By Rhianna Schmunk, CBC News July 11, 2017

A B.C. First Nations chief says emotions ran high between himself and the RCMP when he told officers residents wouldn’t be obeying an evacuation order as several wildfires threaten the community. Read the rest of this entry

Bug Out Bag System

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A forest fire burns near Kelowna, BC, 2013.

by Sakej Ward, July 9, 2017
Considering the wild fires in BC and the provincial state of emergency, I know their is a lot of our people wondering how to prepare for such an emergency. I want to help out, a little bit, by providing a packing list for a Bug Out Bag System, think of it as a evacuation bag list. If you are in a threatened area and may have to face the threat of a wild fire start to prepare now.  Hope is not a strategy! Read the rest of this entry

B.C. is burning: 10,000 people displaced in hot, dry conditions

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Nevaeh Porter, 8, is comforted by her grandmother Angie Thorne as they view the remains of their home that was destroyed by wildfire on the Ashcroft First Nation, near Ashcroft, B.C., late Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Evacuation orders issued in many communities, $100 million relief fund set up

By Roshini Nair, CBC News, July 10, 2017

Wide swaths of forests in British Columbia’s Interior are burning after a lightning storm Friday afternoon ignited brush parched from weeks of relentless hot, dry weather. Read the rest of this entry

B.C. wildfire evacuees say they are in shock

Fort McMurray fire destroys oilsands camp, forces evacuation of thousands of workers as blaze continues to grow

Tar Sands Fort McMurray fire black-sands

This photo of Blacksand Executive Lodge was taken by a CBC News contact around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. (Name withheld by request)

by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 17, 2016

CALGARY – The out-of-control wildfires in northern Alberta have forced a new wave of evacuations, by ground and by air, and delayed plans to restart oilsands productions at some projects, dealing another setback to the already hard-hit sector.

Suncor Energy Inc. spokesperson Sneh Seetal confirmed the company had begun airlifting employees to safety Tuesday after the fire had changed course Monday night, moved northward and forced the evacuation of its facilities and surrounding camps. Read the rest of this entry

Fires costing oilsands sector $70 million a day in lost revenue

Tar Sands Ft McMurray fire signGeoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 8, 2016

CALGARY —  As oilsands companies scramble to determine when they can start producing oil again in fire-ravaged northern Alberta, the industry is estimated to be losing $70 million every day that production is off line.

“There are a lot of fixed costs that don’t go away by just shutting in your production,” ARC Financial vice-president of energy research Jackie Forrest  said, pointing to employee salaries, and in some cases pre-paid diluent costs and fixed pipeline costs. Read the rest of this entry

Fort Mac Blaze: Brace for New Era of Infernos

Tar Sands Ft McMurray burned homes

Homes and cars burned in Fort McMurray, May 2016. Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images

What’s turning northern forests into tinder? Biggest reason is climate change, but that’s not all.

By Ed Struzik,  TheTyee.ca, May 7, 2016

A sudden shift in the wind at a critical time of day was all it took to send a wildfire out of control through Fort McMurray, forcing more than 80,000 people out of their homes in what has become the biggest natural disaster in Canadian history.

Earlier this week, Darby Allen, the regional fire chief for the area, minced no words when he was asked what might happen now that more than 1,600 homes have been destroyed. Read the rest of this entry

Fort McMurray fires shut down even more oilsands facilities, knock one million barrels offline

APTOPIX Canada Wildfire

A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., on Wednesday May 4, 2016 (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP).

Claudia Cattaneo and Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 5, 2016

CALGARY — More oilsands companies have been forced to reduce or shut down production as the raging wildfire that started near Fort McMurray spreads south to new producing areas.

Meanwhile, oil companies poured their resources into the firefighting effort — from sheltering evacuees to helping with medical emergencies.

Suncor Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Athabasca Oil Corp. all announced production reductions or shut-downs late in the day Thursday in response to the growing fire, which is now estimated to have pushed more than 1 million barrels — close to 40 per cent — of oilsands production offline. Read the rest of this entry

Major oil sands producers scale back output as Fort McMurray wildfire rages