Andrew Nikiforuk

13 May 2016 - At the end of the day the $10-billion wildfire that consumed 2400 homes and buildings in Fort McMurray may be the least of the region's problems.

Although the chaotic evacuation of 80,000 people through walls of flame will likely haunt its brave participants for years, a slow global economic burn has already taken a nasty toll on the region's workers.

Martin Lukacs
Smoke from fires billows south of Fort McMurray as seen from a helicopter over Highway 63. Photograph: Mcpl Vanputten/AFP/Getty Images

Fossil fuel corporations are causing the climate change fuelling mega-fires – and they should be footing the bill for the devastation

Deirdre Fulton
A charred vehicle and homes are pictured in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town. (Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters)

'For me, climate change is the face of this problem,' says Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

David Parkinson

If you’re trying to figure out how Alberta’s already hurting budget is going to get battered by the Fort McMurray wildfires, don’t get too bogged down in the reports of massive losses in oil production shutdowns. You’re better off keeping an eye on the way the oil price responds to the drama playing out in the Alberta oil patch.

Alex Nussbaum

A raging wildfire in Northern Alberta has dealt oil sands operators another complication: local shortages of diluent, the light oil needed to get Canada’s heavy crude flowing.

Statoil ASA said Monday that it shut its Leismer oil-sands plant south of Fort McMurray after diluent deliveries were cut off. Husky Energy Inc. also cited a shortage on May 4 when it cut its Sunrise oil sands site’s output by 20,000 barrels a day.

Paul Street

Blazes in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Video still from Youtube footage posted by Jason Edmondson.

Some time ago, the environmentalist “Break Free” movement planned a number of protest actions around the world during the first two weeks of May. The protests have a simple and basic message: burning fossil fuels is unsafe and those resources must be left in the ground.

Thomas Walkom,

Politicians are reluctant to mention the role of global warming in the destruction of Canada’s oil sands capital.

The Fort McMurray fire disaster brings out the eloquence in Canada’s politicians. They talk movingly – and I think sincerely – about the devastation wreaked on the inhabitants of the northern Alberta city.

They praise the generosity of those Canadians who help. They put partisanship on ice. In one memorable instance last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau crossed the Commons floor to hug Rona Ambrose, the teary-eyed interim Conservative leader.

Richard Fidler

With each day the bad news spreads. A gigantic wildfire now covering some 4,000 km2 is spreading through northeastern Alberta and into Saskatchewan — devastating much of Fort McMurray, the city in the heartland of the tar sands. Some 90,000 residents have been displaced and thousands of homes, many local industries and businesses, destroyed.

Ed Struzik

What's turning northern forests into tinder? Biggest reason is climate change, but that’s not all

A sudden shift in the wind at a critical time of day was all it took to send a wildfire out of control through Fort McMurray, forcing more than 80,000 people out of their homes in what has become the biggest natural disaster in Canadian history.

Earlier this week, Darby Allen, the regional fire chief for the area, minced no words when he was asked what might happen now that more than 1,600 homes have been destroyed.


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