A fiery environmental apocalypse

Burned out trucks sit at the Ford dealership in Slave Lake after wildfires destroyed more than a third of the town.TODD KOROL/REUTERS

Toronto Star
by Stephen Scharper
Published On Mon May 23 2011

If you are reading this in the comfort of your home, or the familiar bustle of a local coffee shop, chances are the world didn’t come to an end over the weekend as predicted by Family Radio and other apocalypse-prone Christians.

If you are reading this in Slave Lake, Alta., however, amid the charred detritus of dozens of homes and the melted storefronts of the downtown — the catastrophic calling cards of wildfires that, as of this writing, are still raging out West — you realize that, for some in this rural community, part of the world has ended.

As Len MacCharles, deputy fire chief with the Calgary Fire Department, remarked at a recent news conference, “In all the years I’ve been doing this job, I haven’t seen anything with this kind of speed and devastation.”

And the culprit is not The Second Coming, but quite possibly, Business as Usual.


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