Escaping Fort McMurray wild fire

Combine a severe drought in 2015, a mild dry winter, high winds, and a heat wave, and you have the ingredients for a wild fire.  In fact, Alberta fire watchers had been on alert since early March.  And then it happened.  A massive forest and grass fire blew into Fort McMurray, a northern Canadian city.

At first I wondered if it was an oil rig fire, but no it was a ‘natural’ wildfire (though no one knows what or who fueled the first spark).  Last Tuesday, May 3, evacuation of almost 90,000 people began.

There have been miracles. So far only two deaths have been reported and roughly 85% of the city was not destroyed.  Yet this last statistic is of small consolation to those who lost everything.  Wild fires are becoming more common as average world temperatures rise–destroying forests, shrubs, animals and sometimes, human communities.  The Fort McMurray story is close to home.

Sparks rain and scatter,

In lightning time, all in flames,

Lives upturned in smoke.

Northern city flees

firebolts, searing hot smoke

cooled by gentle rain.

A change in weather has caused the fire threat in Fort McMurray to reduce considerably, but almost 200,000 hectares of fire is still raging.

My haiku are a second response to Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge #96: ‘lightning’ and ‘rain’.  Seeing those sparks raining down in the video told me that the story could be told with the prompt words.

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12 thoughts on “Escaping Fort McMurray wild fire

  1. This fire is unbelievable–even seeing the video, I know it’s much worse in reality. I heard the fire was so massive that it actually created it’s own weather with thunder and lightning.
    I especially like your first haiku.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Merril. It does look terrifying with fire so close to the roadway…they say people were patient evacuating which is surprising. That info about the fire creating weather is amazing but sounds quite possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Read about the sad news few days back ! Indeed climatic changes warming of planet and environmental hazards are major suspects to create such terrible results. I wish to see different government working on these problems as their priority including India where we have pollution problem and decreasing green forests and agricultural lands due to urbanization.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janice, I’ve been following this on the news – it’s like a scene from armageddon – absolutely terrifying. I can’t imagine what it was like driving through it. Thankfully so few harmed which is a miracle itself. I hope you are safe! I really like your haikus on the subject; lives definitely upturned by this event for now and a long time in the future. May the ‘firebolts’ be soothed by the rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I hope the whole blaze settles down. It’s close to home being in my ‘native land’ and closely followed on our national public radio station, but fortunately I live safely a few provinces away in Ontario. Of course fires can start anywhere in dry conditions. Your use of the word Armageddon is right on…survivors have described it as being like being on the run in an Apocalypse.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vashti. This chest cold has been the worst I’ve had in a long time but there are some signs of easing up. About the video– I am so glad people put their dash cameras on to record their journeys.. Driving through a fire of that size is something few of us have experienced or imagined.


  4. powerful.

    one facet of these fires is fire has always been part of the normal cycles of nature, cleansing out the underbrush, allowing for new growth to emerge from the ashes. Humans, because of their increasing settlements in or near these forests have pushed a standard approach to suppress any fire as soon as it starts, thereby allowing the underbrush to accumulate so when a fire does get out of hand it has far more fuel than if nature was allowed to use fire as it always had. Now trees, which could withstand nature’s fires are killed in these in roaring man-made infernos.

    Liked by 1 person

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