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Jimmy RFR

CYMM (Fort McMurray) Area Wildfires

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I've spent the day following this quite closely, since Edmonton (my home) is the closest major city to Fort McMurray. I don't personally know anyone affected, but I have many friends and many more work colleagues that do. If anyone is unfamiliar with this story, check out some of the news clips, or check #ymmfire on Twitter - some very chilling footage from the mass evacuations yesterday. 

 

Heavier-than-normal air traffic coming into YEG this afternoon and this evening (my house is under one of the arrival routes); lots of extra flights coming out of the northern oil sands camps where a sizable portion of the cities evacuees fled to and who are now being flown into YEG & YYC.

 

I was following the fires' progression towards the airport in Fort McMurray via the WXcam that NavCanada has there, but it quit working earlier this evening. Very surreal images on it, I don't think the airport has burned yet, but it was very, very close, and the WXcam showed the fire as it grew closer and closer to the airport perimeter.

 

My thoughts are with the folks who have lost their homes and businesses, and with the brave emergency personnel from across the province both in the ground and in the air working hard to save what's left of the city.

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Jim Stewart

Platforms: X-Plane 11 | P3Dv4 | DCS
System: i7-6700K o/c @ 4.4GHz | EVGA GTX 980ti | 32GB RAM | BenQ 32" @ 2560x1440 | Oculus Rift | W10 Pro

Other Sim Interests: Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Dirt Rally, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator

 

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Yes very sad to see, I am Canadian but now living in New Zealand but I have known lots of people that lived and worked there at one time. Problem with Fort McMurray is it is a city built for the Oil Boom and surrounded by forests, so absolutely no defense or barrier from a forest fire of this size, trying to stop it would be like spitting on a campfire.

 

Thoughts and prayers for my fellow Canadians.


Matthew Kane

 

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I'm about 500nm SSW in the Idaho panhandle and it's fairly green here yet but drying out much earlier than normal. I've lived on this piece of land 26 years and up until 2014 the frost has always left the ground (the mud dries up) completely on Apr 15th give or take a day or two. In 2014 the frost went out on Apr 1st, in 2015 the frost was out by the 3rd week of Mar, this year everything was dried up by Mar 8th or 5 full weeks earlier than what I observed to be normal over a 23 year period. I'm actually loving it because I hate everything about winter, but the drastic change over the last 3 years is a little alarming. I got a light shower this morning which helps somewhat but we need about 6" of rain before July or I fear the entire area will go Okanogan.

 

My sincere condolences to those who have lost their homes and best wishes for those that have been evacuated and probably don't even know whether they'll have homes to return to. I wish I could forfeit my wet morning here in Idaho somehow and send the moisture up to the folks in Fort McMurray.

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Still an overall lack of concrete information coming out of the area.  Some of the bits you read are good, some not so good.  It's hard to glean new information, as a lot of the news footage being shared and broadcasted is one or two days old.

 

However, one of the themes that keeps popping up on social media has been the very selfless and organized response of Westjet. They've been running donated supplies north to the evacuees that have taken shelter in the camps north of Fort McMurray (a few of the large sites have private air strips), as well as then taking evacuees out.  Lots of praise coming from a lot of folks for the airline. I suspect they have created a huge amount of loyal customers in the past few days.


This dashcam video of traffic evacuating the town is one of the most amazing things I've seen:

 

https://youtu.be/aC2iPvXAggM


Jim Stewart

Platforms: X-Plane 11 | P3Dv4 | DCS
System: i7-6700K o/c @ 4.4GHz | EVGA GTX 980ti | 32GB RAM | BenQ 32" @ 2560x1440 | Oculus Rift | W10 Pro

Other Sim Interests: Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Dirt Rally, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator

 

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It's surreal to say the least, I'm also in Edmonton (and on the approach path for YEG, RWY20 actually) Glad everyone made it out. No reports of any casualties, which if you've been following the video footage is amazing in itself.  


Clarke Kruger - CYEG 

 

 

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Was on the way out of the house at about 11 am, saw a CH-54 / S-64 come over SE Edmonton headed NNE in the direction of Fort Mac.  Flying pretty low, but not low enough for me to make out whose it was before it disappeared over the trees.  Never seen one in flight, very impressive. Very loud, too!

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Jim Stewart

Platforms: X-Plane 11 | P3Dv4 | DCS
System: i7-6700K o/c @ 4.4GHz | EVGA GTX 980ti | 32GB RAM | BenQ 32" @ 2560x1440 | Oculus Rift | W10 Pro

Other Sim Interests: Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Dirt Rally, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator

 

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Over here we might moan about our weather a lot but fortunately all we get in the UK is the occasional moorland fire. Thoughts are with the victims. Any airliner sized fire tankers still operational? Evergreen etc.?


Mark Robinson

"What's it doing now?"

Greenbrier Aero Club former member

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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Did you know the people of Fort McMurray have been evacuated to Anzac Alberta during this recent fire, and that Anzac Alberta is named after the Australia New Zealand Army Corps that surveyed the area during World War 1?

 

I thought that was cool


Matthew Kane

 

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It's absolutely crazy what's going on there.  I have two former colleagues who work for the municipality that incorporates Ft. Mac, both have lost their homes, and both have been working for three days straight as part of the emergency operations centre for the city, largely around coordinating evacuations etc.  Both have lost their homes, yet are continuing to work to ensure the safety of others...I couldn't be more proud and more sad at the same time.

 

I did a mock relief flight into CYMM last night using Active Sky Next....let's just visibility was bad!  Tonight I'm going to sim a relief flight into one of the airfields at the work camps north of Ft. Mac...CYNR, CAL4 and CFG6 are all available as ORBX freeware.


Dave

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For some reference on the size of the fire, check out this article.

 

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/how-big-is-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/

 

To give credit where it's due, some, if not all of those WestJet evacuation flights are being paid for by the oil companies. The same companies who cleared out their camps to make room for people evacuating Fort Mac. Not to take away from WestJet contributions, just noting that there are a number of other companies doing more than expected too.

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Also from Edmonton here, I've spent a lot of time working in Ft.Mac and can not believe the amount of damage that has been done by this catastrophic event.

This fire is literally unstoppable without natures help.

90000 people have been evacuated and the fire so far has destroyed the area equal to the size of Boston and Chicago combined

There are 49 fires burning in Alberta today

The compassion and generosity that Albertains have shown is a breath of fresh air for humanity, people driving food,water and gasoline to stranded people on the highway trying to get out of harms way says something about the type of people in this Province.

 

Donations are still needed, if possible please donate to the Canadian RedCross

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In Greater Vancouver here, and like many others in BC, I'm following the Fort McMurray fires. My thoughts are with everyone affected. Those who want to help can do so through the Canadian Red Cross here. I'm going to donate now.


Joel Murray @ CYVR (actually, somewhere between CYNJ and CZBB, but quite close to CSK8) 

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The videos coming out of there is mind boggling. Search for them if you havnt seen.  Must be quite the fearful sight with cars just escaping in time. Continue to hope everyone gets out safe., residents, safety personnel and the countless firefighters and other emergency personnel


Dave Seminchuk  CYVR LSZH FDX Virtual, Fly Virtual.
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Just donated, and by the way, our Prime Minister has stated that the Canadian government "will match individual donations to the Canadian Red Cross in support of wildfire relief efforts."


Joel Murray @ CYVR (actually, somewhere between CYNJ and CZBB, but quite close to CSK8) 

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Did you know the people of Fort McMurray have been evacuated to Anzac Alberta during this recent fire, and that Anzac Alberta is named after the Australia New Zealand Army Corps that surveyed the area during World War 1?

 

I thought that was cool

 

And sadly, Anzac was itself evacuated yesterday as well, forcing not only it's own residents who had been working tirelessly to become evacuees, but also the folks who had just arrived and now had to head further south. The last updates I've read said that the Anzac is still an active fire area...

 

 

 

To give credit where it's due, some, if not all of those WestJet evacuation flights are being paid for by the oil companies. The same companies who cleared out their camps to make room for people evacuating Fort Mac. Not to take away from WestJet contributions, just noting that there are a number of other companies doing more than expected too.

 

Very, very true. From clearing out camps to make room, to arranging supplies, to arranging the essentials such as baby carriers and carseats for the evacuees to use once landing in YEG and YYC, the response of the oil companies has been massive.

 

There's been a lot of initiative on all sides for sure. I read an article about a scheduled WestJet flight that was headed out of Kelowna to Fort Mac deciding to load the plane with as much water and essentials as they could gather on short notice.  I also just saw a pic this evening from inside a WestJet flight where many pets were on board, either held by owners or on leashes.

 

Another airline worth mentioning is Air North, with offers of free cargo transport and heavily discounted compassionate fares.

 

It's actually almost overwhelming, in terms of the response of not only individuals loading up vehicles with essentials such as water and fuel and heading north, but also of businesses both small and large contributing what they can. Telus, having people working on mountains of cell phones to give to those who need them, or Labatt Brewery shutting down beer production to can water instead. Countless restaurants offering free food.  Even a property company here in Edmonton offering 3 months rent-free accommodations. Amazing stuff.

 

It's so scary to think that this is just the very, very start of the fire season. Here's hoping that not only is this scenario over soon, but that we don't see it replayed again elsewhere this summer.

  • Upvote 1

Jim Stewart

Platforms: X-Plane 11 | P3Dv4 | DCS
System: i7-6700K o/c @ 4.4GHz | EVGA GTX 980ti | 32GB RAM | BenQ 32" @ 2560x1440 | Oculus Rift | W10 Pro

Other Sim Interests: Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Dirt Rally, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator

 

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