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Op-ed: Summer ends with a blaze

Peter Shokeir | [email protected] Just when we thought there would be a summer without a major wildfire, Chetamon had to happen.
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Parks Canada photo

Peter Shokeir | [email protected]

Just when we thought there would be a summer without a major wildfire, Chetamon had to happen.

These blazes have unfortunately become a normal part of life in Western Canada, and there are real human consequences to them, as many in Jasper are now seeing.

Thankfully, the townsite itself is not in any immediate danger, but the powerline that connects Jasper to the rest of civilization is under assault by the flames.

With the power outages, Jasperties are deprived of lights, groceries, gas and the latest episode of “House of the Dragon.”

Visitors, meanwhile, had a serious wrench thrown into their plans for Labour Day Weekend, although those who came from the north on Highway 16 would have caught a glimpse of the smoky inferno on the not-so-distant mountains.

Parks Canada and the municipality are putting it out there that now might not be the best time for a weekend trip.

For sure, it’s a blow to businesses who are still recovering from COVID.

And there’s the smoke, which easily reached Hinton and nearly touched Edson when I went there on Friday.

As well, the strong winds and hot, dry weather have not helped slow the spread of the fire, with only a brief reprieve with the showers on Sunday night.

Parks Canada and its firefighters have done an extraordinary job of battling the flames while also keeping residents and visitors informed.

ATCO and the municipality have worked hard to restore the power to Jasper.

There are many others who have also stepped up during this trying time.

The only silver lining to such terrible situations is that heroes have a chance to shine, and as the wildfire drags on, we’ll see just how many heroes that Jasper has.