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 allow fire fighters to take steps to extinguish the wildfire in Fort McMurray.
The immediate concern is to attend to the needs of residents who have had to leave their homes. Here the news is more encouraging: Alberta is arranging shelter and financing of immediate personal needs. The Federal Government has promised significant financial assistance in various forms. Private donations from Canadians continue to pour in.
The connection between the Fort McMurray wild fire and climate change is an issue of concern to all Canadians. There should not be any disagreement regarding the connection. Last year when BC was experiencing a record wild fire season, Premier Clark expressed the view that climate change was to blame.
A CBC panel of experts on the National used the formula 30-30-30 to explain why this wildfire was so devastating: the temperature in Fort McMurray was in excess of 30 degrees (a record), the wind was greater than 30 kilometer per hour and the humidity (moisture) was below 30 percent (no rain and much reduced snow pack). The panel agreed that climate change contributed to these conditions.
Our government leaders must settle the contribution of global warming to extreme weather events before the Federal Provincial Conference on climate change this fall. Equivocation and evasion must stop. If not, the discussion will be diverted from the most important subjects: how Canada can limit GHG emissions and mitigate the consequences of climate change!