Purple fire, that's a good sign.
Purple flames, PUUU-U-URPLE flaaames
Actually I was thinking of Kavinsky's Nightcall
Just for some context for our American friends, Fort McMurray is the main base camp for the entire Oilsands operation in Alberta.
It's grown like an obscene tick gorging on the blood of a fattened calf for the last fifteen years in particular, though it did exist before the oilsands...back then, though, it really WAS just a very small somewhat more northern town ("northern" in Canada kicks in far more southerly than it might in the States, more a denoter of 'where you begin to approach sub-arctic conditions' than a simply geographic one, thus you get Fort McMurray as a 'northern' town despite being just a little past the center of the province).
It's The Company Town, and it has all the negative connotations that brings with it, including extravagently high...well...everything costs, a lot of largely transient population just there to have somewhere to sleep when they aren't out in the field making some money before going back 'home' (whether that be in Alberta or far further away), and a more long-term population of people for whom it's their COMMUNITY, who often have mixed feelings on the worker population.
This would have been a terrible tragedy for the Fort McMurray of my youth, but with it having become what it has since then? This is a major disaster with some extremely far-reaching consequences, far beyond what it might seem.
This is our province reaping what it sowed, and it breaks my heart, even if I've known it was likely to happen in some form, even if I've opposed the oilsands and the reckless contribution we've made toward climate change's growth; nobody deserves to lose their home, everything they have. Nobody.
This isn't even 'just the beginning', either, given Slave Lake, and then last year's record massive prairie fires (and we're a prairie province, on the whole) were horrifying in and of themselves. But it may be the new normal for a while.
What happens if this thing reaches the Oilsands themselves?
That's the question everyone's pondering right now, I think.
It's...scary enough that nobody wants to say it out loud.
It's not the first wildfire the Athabasca has seen, and the oil sands were still there when geologists found them. The sands aren't coated with volatile oil, but rather with less combustible bitumen (similar to asphalt), and its not well oxygenated underground.
The areas where mining takes place have little flammable vegetation and is considered low risk. However, much of the extraction in the surrounding area is in situ, where there's little surface disturbance and steam is injected in parallel horizontal wells to reduce bitumen viscosity. This leaves a lot of combustible vegetation near enormous tanks of diluent (light chain hydrocarbons) that used to pipe bitumen to refineries.
| Register or login To Post a Comment|