Canada’s biggest climate change event of 2016

The wildland/urban interface disaster that struck Fort McMurray, Alberta in May 2016 was the largest ever insured loss in Canada.  This wildfire destroyed more than 2,400 structures. Wildfires are a distinct emergency that have and will lead to increasing losses. This is clear from comparing Fort McMurray, where the losses topped $3.6 billion, with previous …

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Premier Notley visits Fort McMurray

The Fort McMurray wildfire was sufficiently under control to allow Premier Notley to visit the damaged area of the town.  The wildfire is still advancing towards the Saskatchewan border, but, as it is no longer a risk to any inhabited area, there is no immediate need to check its progress.  Some rain and cool temperatures should …

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Possible Lessons from the destruction of Fort McMurray

The Fort McMurray wildfire uprooted 88,000 residents of the area. When it is safe to do so, some of these people will return to run the industrial installations that extract bitumen from the neighbouring tar sands. For those who don’t, their immediate future will be uncertain.  They are Canada’s first climate change refugees. Ironically, only …

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Destruction of Fort McMurray

In 2011 we commented on the tragedy of Joplin, Missouri, a town that was wiped out – flattened! – by a severe tornado.   The videos of the residents surveying the destruction were heart-wrenching: the speakers were in shock as they recognized they had lost everything! Nobody wishes to exploit a tragedy as severe as the wild fires that …

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