Tuesday, May 10, 2016
The Heroic and Very Canadian Struggle to Save Fort McMurray
When I saw the pictures of what the fire they called The Beast had done to Fort McMurray, at first I was shocked by the devastation.
Stunned at the sight of so many houses and hopes and memories reduced to ashes by its raging fury.
But then I was amazed to see how much of Fort Mac had been saved, almost ninety percent.
By the heroic actions of those who fought The Beast and beat it.
On the eastern bank of the Clearwater River, the battle to save downtown Fort McMurray raged for 12 solid hours.
"The fire was stopped there," Fire Chief Darby Allen said, as he pointed to the charred trees on the steep riverbank during a tour through the city on Monday afternoon. "If that fire had got down into the downtown, we would have lost the downtown."
Because it was an epic battle. There were many heroes.
One veteran firefighter watched helplessly as his home burned to the ground, right before going on to complete what would become a gruelling 23-hour shift fighting the fires devastating his hometown.
Another evacuated her children when the massive wildfires roared through the area, but she turned back into the eye of what is now being dubbed “the beast” to help her comrades fight the flames — as did her firefighter husband.
And they came from all over Alberta and the rest of Canada.
Firefighters from tiny Didsbury, Alberta...
Firefighters from the Maritimes, BC, and Quebec.
Firefighters from Ontario...
Firefighters from the First Nations and Métis communities of Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan.
All joining forces to beat back the raging inferno ...
And save most of Fort Mac.
And when this city firefighter was asked how he felt being called a hero, he said he wasn't but they were...
Which couldn't be more moving, and I like to think more Canadian.
And the best thing for me was when other countries very kindly offered to send firefighters to help battle the monster fire, Justin Trudeau was able to say no thank you friends.
Russia, the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have all offered help in fighting the northern Alberta wildfire, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there's no need for international assistance.
We can handle it ourselves...
We beat The Beast.
We kept Fort Mac alive.
And in this sometimes quarrelsome country.
We did it TOGETHER...
Bruce MacKinnon/ Halifax Chronicle Herald
My kind of heroes.
My kind of Canada...
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