We're not out of the woods

Photo by Heather Thomas

Provincial officials announced that "The Beast" is being held, residents continue to return to the community, and traffic is picking up to pre-fire levels.  The fact is that our community is buzzing right now with hundreds and hundreds of restoration workers, insurance representatives, and countless others who are assisting with the recovery.

After a deluge of rain over the last week, one could easily jump to the conclusion that the fire must be completely doused.  Not so, apparently.  With a wildfire this large and this hot, it manages to make its way underground, sometimes three or four feet below the surface and under a protective "crust" that somewhat shields it from moisture from up above.  It is conceivable that we could have hot spots and flare ups, particularly during the hot and dry days that we will likely have in the weeks ahead, well into the fall.  Fire fighters from near and far are not out of the woods quite yet, and we have to continue to be diligent and support their efforts.

The devastation wrought by this fire will be felt for a long time.  You see it played out on social media every day.  People returning to their homes for the first time are going through a range of emotions.  Others watching volunteers from Team Rubicon sift through the ashes are experiencing something of an order than I can't even begin to imagine.  And public policy issues, like determining the future of, and access to, Beaconhill, Abasand and Waterways, are igniting a different kind of fire.  The role of elected officials during these challenging times is arduous.  They have to make decisions in the best interests of the many that might not sit well with the best interests of the few.

As families come home, other challenges emerge, like getting quality childcare, accessing summer programs, and figuring out what is going to happen with school in the fall.  Some children might be struggling with the memories of having escaped the flames, of feeling the incredible melange of emotions during the evacuation, and dealing with a long period of displacement.  Who am I kidding?  It's not just children dealing with these things.  At some level, we're all trying to sort things out emotionally.

After almost two weeks of being home, things feel quite normal for some of us.  We've slipped back into the familiar patterns of our lives.  It's easy to lose sight of the fact that thousands are in a completely different place.  We need to be mindful of each other and respect the many different journeys that are being undertaken right now.


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