October 25th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. ###
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Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
It’s a good world

This weekend, I received a phone call from Bridget Graf who lives within the perimeter of the fire that took place last week in the Sentinel area.
I must preface this with the fact that I watched the first fire start in Bushtown. We had lost our power here at the Pass Herald, so I decided to have a beer with my friend Melisa in the darkened Rum Runner. On the way, I saw a plume of smoke and low and behold, I watched it grow. The speed at which this fire moved astounded me. I was there even before Protective Services arrived. I watched in awe as it gained speed, thinking, “We are in trouble in Blairmore if this gets out of hand.”

After my beer and strategizing what was important to move in case they didn’t get it under control, I left the building and noticed that it was under control. Pretty impressive, I must say, when considering the wind and the speed at which I saw it moving.

So I went home and promptly had a nap. That’s the way I deal with stress, I nap. It was my go-to during finals in university and I still do it today. I woke up to a phone call from my son saying that they were evacuating Coleman. I thought, “Keiran, I saw that fire is under control”, only to realize it was a different one.
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We have coverage of the fire in this week’s issue, so I won’t go in to detail about that, except to say that those in charge poorly informed us as a newspaper. Yes, we were poorly informed by not getting updates regularly, except through Facebook - and those were hours between updates. Remember that not everyone in town has Facebook, especially the older generation, and they look to their newspaper for information, except we weren’t given any.

Just a quick word to those in charge: even if you have nothing to update, update that. People get scared when they are not informed, and no information is still information.

But back to Bridget. She told me stories of leaving her acreage to see people, random highway drivers, who stopped to try to put out the fire. Some with their feet, others with shovels - one provided by Bridget herself - extinguishers they happened to have in their cars and even with a 2X4 piece of wood.
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She told stories of people showing up at neighbours’ yards with horse trailers trying to help in the evacuation, people leading animals out of the danger zone.

We have retired firemen, men who fought the Lost Creek fire, don their old equipment and hunker down to protect this community. These men have been there and have the expertise in wildfire fighting. I have also heard that a large amount of structures were saved thanks to the FireSmart program we once had in this community, a program I hope we get back.

It’s stories like this that make me believe there is so much good left in this world; that this community will come together when we have to and that the kindness of strangers will be seen in our darkest hour. Makes me proud to call this place my home.

At least that’s the way I see it.
 
LS
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October 25th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. ###
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