[Environment] DISASTERS: FIRE : ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE : COUNTRIES: CANADA : TOURISM AND TRAVEL: Fort McMurray Was Not FireSmarted, And Few Alberta Communities Are

 

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DISASTERS: FIRE :

ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE :

COUNTRIES: CANADA :

TOURISM AND TRAVEL:

Fort McMurray Was Not FireSmarted, And Few Alberta Communities Are

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Fort McMurray Was Not FireSmarted, And Few Alberta Communities Are

The Huffington Post Alberta

By Sarah Rieger

Posted: 05/16/2016 7:19 pm EDT

Updated: 05/16/2016 7:59 pm EDT

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/05/16/ fort-mcmurray-firesmart_n_9996790.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/gocs6ol

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Experts are urging Alberta communities to take action and protect themselves from wildfires, after a massive blaze swept through the northern city of Fort McMurray.

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Volunteer firefighter Tom Burton says more people need to be prepared.

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Maybe five per cent of communities are FireSmarted, Burton told the Calgary Herald, mostly because of a shortage of funding and education about the program.

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FireSmart, an education program by the provincial government, was established in the early 1990s to help Albertans prevent and manage wildfires.

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Despite resources being available that teach communities and home owners to protect buildings from a blaze, very few parts of the province have actually taken proactive measures to keep themselves and their property safe, according to FireSmart Canada.

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Just five communities are officially recognized as being FireSmart, a designation that means a community has been assessed and evaluated for its wildfire readiness. Others may have taken protective measures but haven’t been registered with the program.

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Fort McMurray was not a FireSmart community, likely due to the difficulty of managing the massive, dense forest that surrounds it  making it an extreme example of what can go wrong when a fire gets out of control. Despite firefighters in the area regularly undertaking controlled burns, the city was surrounded by tinder-dry forests, Fort McMurray Today reported.

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The blaze, which has been burning for more than two weeks, has grown to 2,800 square kilometres. It destroyed more than 2,400 structures in the city.

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More than 88,000 residents were evacuated from the area.

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There was likely little the city could have done to prevent the fire, as it whipped into an inferno by strong winds and high temperatures, but Fort Mac can still act as a cautionary tale for other communities.

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The FireSmart guide recommends home owners thin out burnable materials around their home.

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The most important area is in a 10-metre radius around a property. The best thing to do, according to the guide, is to make sure there is as little vegetation or flammable materials in that area as possible.

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The same principles apply to protecting larger communities. By thinning out vegetation or piles of debris  dead brush, construction supplies communities can lessen the risk of a wildfire spreading as it did in Fort McMurray.

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snip

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Topics Discussed in This Article:

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“Alberta has a fire prone landscape.”

“Maybe five per cent of communities are FireSmarted.”

State of emergency

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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