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The Forests Are Burning

Updated on August 17, 2018
Turtle Bay, on Little Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario
Turtle Bay, on Little Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario | Source

This summer is turning-out to be a scorching one. Just a month ago, I was at the Dokis First Nations’ Pow-wow, up on the French River, here in Ontario. I have been going there for the last ten years. I have a nice secluded camping spot, up on a big rock, next to the river, on the outskirts of the reserve (“by the second bridge” for those in the “know”). That is where I camp. This year though, was the first time when I was there, in the middle of the forest, next to a fast, cold river flowing by and I was sweating buckets. I felt like I was in a sauna, with sweat dripping down my face constantly, even in the shade.

Now, a month later and in the area of the French River, fires are burning wildly. Officials are saying that 16 out of the 49 fires in Ontario are not under control, with one major fire threatening the Trans-Canada highway. OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) have stated that if the fire gets much closer to the highway, they might have to re-direct traffic due to low visibility from smoke. At the moment we have fire-fighters from all over Canada, the United States and Mexico helping out in trying to control these fires.

The situation is not much better in the rest of the country. The fires have been so bad on the west coast that fire-fighters from Australia have arrived in British Columbia to give a hand. It has been a scorching year all around. Manitoba has had its faire-share of wild forest fires. The same can be said of Alberta and other parts of Canada. We’re barely managing.

In the United States, the situation looks tragic as well. Thousands of people have lost homes and tens of thousands have been evacuated. Right now California is burning away. They have been experiencing drought for years on end now and thus, with the vegetation all dry, the fires are merciless. Some are calling this a “new normal” due to “cyclical drought, climate change and the ceaseless drive to populate fire-prone areas”, Mr. Rusty Witwer, who has been with the California Department of Forestry, told the New York Times.

Yet, it is not just North America engulfed in flames. In Greece, thousands of tourists and residents are fleeing to safer areas, while fires are moving rapidly through communities. Some people have walked into the sea, the only safe place to be, watching their homes burn away. The Coast Guard has pulled hundreds of people to safety, “according to the deputy shipping minister, Nektarios Santorinios”. Even so, casualties are increasing daily.

Considering that this might very well be the new norm, there is an urgent need to adapt our behavior. It is bad enough that a lightning strike can start a massive forest fire. Thus, we should do our best to limit our own mistakes. Live outdoor fires should always be watched. We have to make sure we are not throwing cigarette butts wherever we feel like it and that overall we are careful with our handling of any fire. And please have fire-extinguishers close by anywhere where there is a fire, stove, barbeque, etc.

We had a grass fire start here in Ontario from someone’s exhaust pipe. So, if your car shoots flames/sparks out of the exhaust, which some cars do, please leave it at home. Or, maybe drive it on the race-track and not on country roads. These are no longer trivial matters. I do know that forest fires are necessary for forests but what we are experiencing now is much more extreme than the usual summer forest fires.

When forests burn uncontrollably, everyone loses. The forests lose, we lose, the birds lose, the four legged lose, the crawlers lose. We all lose a lot. Please be kind to the Forests and help one another if possible. It is a tough time. Thank You.

All the best to everyone!

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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello Mr./Mrs. Meluinith,

      I am actualkly listening to a report, talking about how right now Portugal is fighting some serious fires in the south part of the country. Indeed, it does seem like a big part of the world is on fire. That is why it is critical that we do not contribute to creating any more wild fires. There are enough natural fires already.

      Thank You for taking the time to stop by and for leaving a comment.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. Thorgesen,

      What You said about: "a lot of damage to the eco system being done with these fires, and it could change the climate even more", is very true. The more fires burn, the more co2 is being released and obviously they produce heat as well. On top of which, less forests means there will be less transformation of co2 to oxygen (which forests do). Great point to make!

      Thank You for your comment.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Welcome by Mr. Bill.

      We're just getting a little rain here today. It should help the fire-fighters with battling some of the fires. I hear California is not doing well at all and I am not surprised You can see smoke from 500 miles away. Maybe it's Earth sending smoke signals.

      Thank You for the visit. All the best!

    • profile image

      Meluinith 

      13 months ago

      There are worst forests fires in history in Sweden also. Teams from Italy and Finland has been asked to help to put out the fires. The casualties from Greece forest fires are at least 91 persons...it seems like the whole world is on fire. We have to stick together in these tough times and help one another- and be careful with our behavior that we don't start fires.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      13 months ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      I lived in the valley of smoke (Los Angeles basin) for years. Some years I didn't see the sun for four days. The last few years seem worse than the years before. There is a lot of damage to the eco system being done with these fires, and it could change the climate even more.

      Many fires could have been avoided if people had just done a little more thinking. The truth is many times fires can be prevented by mankind. It has been this way since I can remember.

      This year for me though has been really too wet for fires. There are no forests locally. Here we worry more about grass fires.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We are having our share of problems here in Washington, and actually see the smoke here from a California fire 500 miles away. It's a tough summer for sure, my friend, on the heels of a tough summer last year, and the year before that, and . . . and our behavior as a species needs to change soon.

      Wishing you a blessed and peaceful Thursday!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello Mr. Erick,

      I think we should bring Smokey Bear back! We have some of these fires started by mistakes which could have been avoided.

      Thank You for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Cheers!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. Wesman,

      I'm happy to see You. Like You, I feel fortunate that I live in an area were natural disasters are few to come by. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

      And yes, the fire-fighters are people I always bow-down to. I know how important they are because they were here in about three minutes a couple of years ago when I light my kitchen on fire.

      About the cigarettes, I've formed a habbit of keeping the butts. I put them in my pack, or even in my pocket. When I drive, I throw them on the floor and clean them out when I stop.

      There are little things we can each do, if we're a little more careful and mindful.

      Thank You for the visit. I wish all is well on your end!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      13 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I've one internet friend who a year or so ago had to be evacuated from someplace in California because there was a fear some big dam would break, and huge numbers of persons would be killed. Luckily the dam didn't break, but this year the same person may have to be evacuated for the massive fires.

      Whenever I read about these things, various floods from hurricanes (or potentially busted dams) and fires, I think to tell my parents how wise they were to plant the family where they did. We generally only really worry about tornadoes where I am.

      As for firefighters, wow, what a heroic profession! I don't recall the name offhand, but I read a novel a few years back about smokejumpers, the people who will parachute into a forest in order to clear an area's perimeter, and set the area on fire so that the much larger fire in the distance would reach the burned out place, and then have nowhere to jump to.

      It's a job as dangerous as could be imagined. The typical firefighter job is already as brave and heroic, smokejumpers are another level up.

      I'm not a particularly heroic minded sort of person, but I've sometimes wished I'd been advised to or had desired to go into that profession. I've never been into cops, but I've thought many many times that were I a cop, I'd give every cigarette but thrower I ever witnessed the fine. I smoke cigs some too, it's the littering which angers me.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      It is very good to hear from you. Although we wish the situation was better. Your point of view is spot on. Our old Smokey Bear told us that only you can prevent forest fires. In the 40's. It is tasked on all of us.

      Thanks for this great public service.

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