One Of The Places Where I Taught Up North Is In Trouble

“evacuation orders have been issued by the communities of Easterville and Chemawawin First Nation, 450 kilometres north of Winnipeg, due to smoke and threat from a fire that has moved to within half a kilometre of the community.
 
Fire crews are working on three fires in the area, with ground attack as well as two water bombers.
 
At this time, approximately 70 people from the community of Easterville will be heading to The Pas while up to 2,000 people from Chemawawin First Nation will be going to Winnipeg.
 
Support and co-ordination of the Chemawawin First Nation evacuation will be handled by the Canadian Red Cross.”
 
See Province of Manitoba – Fire Bulletin #16
My biggest GNU/Linux migration in a school was in the community of Easterville. It was a new school building of dramatic size and shape. It was the best computer lab in which I ever worked: no windows/indirect lighting from the library below, air-conditioning which we didn’t need because I used thin clients, and the ability to see every screen at a glance from a single position, both directly and reflected off the windows to the library. It was a rare privilege. You can see the building from space. I specified, ordered and installed all the new clients and servers and provisioned them with software from Ubuntu. I also enjoyed a bounty of Shaggy Mane mushrooms…

One of the hazards of living in the North is that much of the region is forested, gets quite dry in summer, and is a huge source of fuel for wildfires ignited by lightning or human activity. There just isn’t the infrastructure to stop some fires nor to get people out of the way without outside help. The fires can destroy a community and affect the health of people and the ecosystem by smoke and ash. It can also cause closure of air-strips. I once watched in horror as a thunderstorm moved past just a mile or two to the north of us. Every lightning strike caused a fire which threatened the community for several days. We were very fortunate to have light winds. The young and the elderly were evacuated just in case. Fighting such fires can succeed if the winds are not too strong or moving the fire towards the community. Men and machinery can extinguish point blazes and maintain buffer strips. Water bombers are very useful as water in lakes is abundant and close. Almost all communities in the North are adjacent to large bodies of water.

Easterville has access by road so evacuation can be relatively swift but still very disruptive.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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