Monday, May 9, 2016

Wildfire turns on "urban" Fort McMurray, in western Canada

The Canadian wildfire that began in the boreal forest, in the midst of the tar sands regions, has been raging for several days now, driving evacuation of all of Fort McMurray, population 80K.  One of the best stories I've read about the natural disaster was in the New York Times today, "Fort McMurray, a Canadian Oil Boom Town, Is Left in Ashes."   What I like about this story--as a ruralist--is that it puts the situation of Fort McMurray in economic context:
Fort McMurray, or Fort Make Money, as some Canadians nicknamed it during its recent boom years, was the kind of place where second chances and fat paychecks beckoned. 
Those who settled there were trained engineers, refugees from war-torn countries and strivers from across Canada and beyond, drawn to a dot on the map in northern Alberta, a city carved out of boreal forest in a region gushing with oil riches. 
Even after the price of crude began to collapse in late 2014, erasing thousands of jobs, many residents managed to hang on, tightening their belts while waiting for the good times to return. 
Reminds me of Williston, North Dakota, in terms of the energy boom and the demographic attracted.  read more here.

Read more about the fire herehere and here.

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