April 23, 2024 April 23, 2024

Only you can prevent forest fires

Posted on 1 June 2023 by Ryan Dahlman


We’ve all been reading about the active fires in the province. There are families who have been evacuated and some that have lost their homes.

How frightening, upsetting and most definitely stressful time for anyone who is affected by such a disaster. One cannot fathom how a person might truly feel if faced with such an event. I myself really never fully understood how anyone might feel until such a time was faced by myself personally. It is unfortunate but a fact that somehow a piece of news doesn’t seem real or close to home until it impacts you or a family member. My husband and I purchased a piece of land north of Billings in the Bull Mountains of Montana some 12 years ago. There was nothing on the property except for a shed and an RV which could be removed if necessary. I was at work when I received an email from someone living in the area near to our property. There was a fire within a mile and a half and although our trailer could be removed without issue, it was the thought of losing the trees that saddened me most. It was the trees and the lovely surroundings that drew us to buy the property. Many people down there never carried insurance because it is costly. They were facing losses with nothing to protect them. Most fires are started because of lightning strikes but there is a great deal that are started by people!

As of May 8 there were approximately 100 active wildfires. There have been evacuations of nearly 7,000 people near Drayton Valley, Brazeau County and there have been 20 homes destroyed, the RCMP detachment, and a store in Fox Lake. Can you imagine how you might feel having to leave all your worldly possessions behind because there isn’t enough time/opportunity to save them. A home you have worked hard to own, possessions that have been purchased with hard earned money and perhaps even pets/livestock having to be left to die because of the impossibility to get them out safely. Everything you are left with is the clothes on your back and minimal things one was able to retrieve before leaving. Why is it the memory of the Ft. McMurray fire in 2016 that took many homes, businesses and loss of wildlife in the area doesn’t cross our mind. Approximately 88,000 people were forced from their homes. It took a month to get it under control and finally extinguished.

I walk where I live and nothing makes me angrier than seeing cigarette butts, thrown on the ground near the tall and in most cases very dry grass. This is sad and you could be the victim, or someone you know.

Elizabeth Stewart

Medicine Hat

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