Alberta declares province-wide fire ban; 5,000 forced from homes

EDMONTON, May 26, 2015 — As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 70 fires burning in the province. Twenty of the fires were out-of-control, and 55 of them were sparked on Monday, most by lightning.

“We definitely saw a lot of lightning yesterday,” explained Janelle Lane, Wildfire Information Officer.  “We’re anticipating to actually find more of those lightning strike wildfires today (Tuesday), that’s really going to keep our firefighters busy.”

Wildfire information officer Geoffrey Driscoll said more lightning was expected Tuesday night.

Wildfires have forced a total of about 5,000 people from their homes but officials don’t believe any houses have been lost.

“There’s 1,600 hard-working, dedicated and experienced peope on the ground fighting fires and working to support families who had to leave their homes,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier. “These men and women are doing an excellent job working very hard in a challenging and stressful situation. I want to take a moment to thank those people.”

Driscoll said there were three fires of concern: the one burning 10 kilometres away from the hamlet of Wabasca, one burning 22 kilometres east of Slave Lake, and one 40 kilometres northwest of Cold Lake.

Read more

Stay safe, Albertans!


Exxon is calling ALL the shots in Mayflower, Arkansas. We were ticketed for a) Parking in a Prohibited Area and b) Interfering with a Government Operation. There is not a single sign on any of the property filmed (above) or pictured (below) which indicates the area has been sealed off. A single strip of red tape with the word: “DANGER” hangs between a few trees. That is all.

The officer on the right ripped my phone from my hands while I was filming, and drew down on me with a taser. I asked no fewer than twenty times that my phone be returned to me before they decided to let us return to our vehicle - where a citation was issued by Mayflower police as indicated above.

This area is literally 100 yards from a trailer where a little boy sleeps each night. His mother told us his asthma has been really bad for the last 2 weeks. North Woods homes were evacuated. The families who live nearest this marsh have not been evacuated. There is exponentially more oil in the marsh in their backyards than there ever was in the North Woods subdivision. The list of discrepancies goes on and on.

Was evacuated last night from Wab. I’m staying with my boyfriend in Athabasca,my roommates amd another friend too (boyfriend is honestly so great). The fire has calmed down, and it’s not reached any houses yet; it’s supposed to get worse from 1-5pm today. We’re allowed to go back when they have it contained. All weekend I’ve been so stressed and upset about this. Sunday evening I drove up, grabbed my stuff that Oliver hadn’t (I don’t have renter’s insurance….) and just as I finished they put the town under a state of emergency. Still left a few things, bed, bedside table. Nothing I’m attached to. I heard it was a guy who set fire to his van that started this. If it is, I hope they find him.

Please read!

Hi person reading this. I bet you’re wondering what this is about. Well, this is about a fire that burnt up have my town. Hopefully this will get your attention.
I am a volunteer fire fighter in my local fire department; Wabasca/Desmarais Alberta, Canada. (Look it up)
In the North of my town, is where this fire started..
The police didn’t think this fire would spread or be of any harm.
Obviously not.
The fire had jumped 250 yards and began to spread at rapid rates. We had over 4 fire departments from a few towns over to come help us try and put it out.. But it didn’t stop there..
In under 24 hours we had to evacuate the entire town! That’s over 10,000 residents who had to leave their homes that might not be there when they come back into this town.. It’s technically them leaving their homes in a fiery blaze! Along with their pets (horses, cows, dogs, cats, etc.) cause they only had a 30 minutes to evacuate.
Imagine stepping into their shoes..
Most of our fire fighters left with their families to be safe.
I, for one am 17 and helping fight a giant forest fire that is threatening on burning my home town.. I could have left to be safe, but I didn’t. I’m sacrificing my safety to protect other people’s homes. So they can have a home to come back to!! How did this fire start you may ask?
This fire started by a stupid drunk man who lit a TIRE on fire and THREW IT IN A VEHICLE. The vehicle exploded and lit the trees on fire nearby, chemicals spreaded into the air, (since this was by a dump!)
Horrible isn’t it?
Imagine seeing your town/city being threatened by wildfire cause of one mans mistake..
Please, be safe with fires. I will be posting pictures on my blog.

Mandatory evacuation notice was lifted last night! Everyone but those living on Reserve C are allowed to go home. Work doesn’t start until tomorrow for me, so I’ll end up just having a day and a half this week (I took a half day friday to get my bite plate from the dentist.) Tempted to just call in sick the next two days :V ah well.

Awesome job to the firefighters who managed to control the fire enough that no structures were burned! You’re fucking amazing. Not to mention that they’ve more or less been working non-stop for four days. You’re super heroes :)

Got my computer back! Can’t even tell you how much more convenient everything is. Looked at a few cars, car shopping is terrible. Fell in love with a mitsubishi, still want to look around to see what else there is. It’s my first car, y'know? The salesperson I was talking to texted me today, which is hella weird, asked him to email me rather than text anytime he wanted to talk about the car. Went to Ikea, was in there for 15 minutes, grabbed what we needed and left, kindof awesome imo, especially since I could spend forever in that place. It’s so great. 

Went to Craft Beer for supper and it was so delicious! I had a mac and cheese with 100000 different cheeses, yum. 

The drive home was garbage, 3.5h and it was past sunset. Saw loads of deer, so that was terrifying thinking I was going to hit one. Suz and I tag teamed our way home, driving home in hour or so spurts. Passed out as soon as I got home.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company: Criminal Negligence

An open letter to the people of Central Arkansas; their elected, appointed, and corporate officials.

As children we are taught that the “now or never” mentality is an effacing characteristic—that it makes our position small, and maybe even irrelevant. We are taught, therefore, to be patient. We are conditioned to wait. And sadly, many of us always will. But when ExxonMobil Pipeline Company decimated the wetlands at the southern end of Lake Conway on March 29, 2013, many people began to act immediately. It is now quite clear to those of us who have been actively researching and documenting the spill in Mayflower that we would be foolish not to adopt an impatient stance. Time is, truly, of the essence. We are not only dealing with criminal negligence in the present. It should be clear by now that there are several indications of a larger and more dangerous threat to the future health and stability of generations of Arkansans.

The harm we allow in Arkansas in the present is the harm in which we are complicit downstream—in the future. Considering the magnitude of our responsibility in these matters, our immediate response is crucial to the health and well-being of several generations to come—not only for Arkansans, but everyone living in the greater Delta region.

We cannot put a price on direct and appropriate responses to these kinds of threats. Interestingly enough, the resources of one of the largest, if not THE largest corporation on the planet are not presently being deployed to even a fraction of their capacity. The burden should not land in the medical records and bottom lines of private citizens or community businesses. A simple question, then, is this: Who is to foot the bill for informing the public, and protecting their interests? The public themselves? No. These matters are much bigger; beyond, perhaps, even the scope of our present knowledge with regard to health and safety. We are, after all, dealing with some of the most carcinogenic substances known to science. We should demand, now or never, that ExxonMobil Pipeline Company bear the cost of the real burden in Mayflower. Arguing like children regarding what that burden is, and the full financial implications of the same is, it would seem, a litigious trap.

Let us not fall into it, then.

ExxonMobil Pipeline is wholly responsible, due to a clear and irrefutable negligence on its part in the Mayflower spill. This “legal” matter has been settled countless times by prior litigation and research. It is time, now, for us to hold it to account. Pipes buried some 70 years ago in the forgotten (literally) fields of Arkansas have not been properly maintained and are presently tasked with a greater load than can be borne by the structure set in place to maintain them, which, unless I am sorely mistaken, does not in all actuality even exist. Indeed, there appears upon close inspection to have been no regular system of maintenance and minimal control put in place to act should it become necessary to do so.

We should not only act immediately, we should act retroactively and, in this instance, in perpetuity. What can we do to insure this event is not repeated time and time again? I will clarify by saying that what has been done in the past, what is being done today, and the apparent slow plodding course of “correction” are far too arthritic and lame to positively impact appropriate, healthy, sustainable growth while protecting and properly developing new infrastructures and growth which will inevitably come to this industry and its consumers.

We are all connected. And how, precisely, is this impacting Central Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta? From my limited knowledge and perspective, I do not hesitate to say that those effected by this disaster presently bear the greatest cost, while those who affected it continue to profit - even from their loss.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company Steadily Removing Ton after Ton of Material
Lake Conway, Mayflower, Arkansas.

Thousands allowed to return home after Alta. wildfire evacuations - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Thousands allowed to return home after Alta. wildfire evacuations
Toronto Sun
Thousands of Albertans evacuated from their communities due to wildfires have been allowed to return home, but a province-wide fire ban is still in place due to the dry weather. Late Tuesday, RCMP began to help residents return to the hamlet of Wabasca, …
Alberta wildfires intensify near oilsands sitesSt. Catharines Standard

all 191 news articles » http://dlvr.it/B0Cldb

PHMSA Congressional Briefing on Dilbit Slated for July 2013

The Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHSMA) is a division of the US Department of Transportation which has been quietly researching the safety and transportation of Canadian Tar Sands oil across the maze of interstate pipelines in North America. According to the PHSMA, there is to be a congressional briefing based on the findings of an “independent” study conducted by scholars and industry experts in July, 2013.

“Congress directed the Secretary via PHMSA to conduct a study on diluted bitumen (dilbit) to determine if there was any increase in the risk of release for pipeline facilities transporting dilbit. PHMSA has chosen to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a full and independent study of this topic."  | PHMSA website

Jason Plautz, of Inside Climate News, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, asks a very basic, but endearing question regarding industrial reluctance to report on its poor material transportation and hazmat disaster mitigation: ”…how much information will the committee get from the industry it is studying?“

Good question, bro.

Minimal research into the committee membership on the NAS panel tasked with analyzing data and researching scenarios in which some of the most corrosive substances on our planet are transported through a massive network of pipes buried across the country, some of them as far back as seventy years ago indicates major conflicts of interest.

Better than one-third of the committee members have direct ties to the petroleum industry and track records which include some of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. I just want to look at one. His name is Richard Rabinow. Richard is the former V.P. of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. He retired from ExxonMobil in 2002.

What a coincidence, right?

Richard and Kitty Rabinow. Houston, TX. Sept. 2011.

Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com

Richard A. Rabinow is President of The Rabinow Consortium, L.L.C, which provides economic and business consulting services to the pipeline industry. He retired from ExxonMobil after a 34-year career with the corporation. At the time of his retirement in 2002, he was President of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (EMPCo), a position he had held at EMPCo and its predecessor, Exxon Pipeline Company, since 1996. Prior to that, he was Vice President and Lower 48 Manager of Exxon Pipeline Company. He began his career at the Exxon Company in 1968, holding several engineering and supervisory positions in refineries, rising to Executive Assistant to the President of Exxon Company, Baytown Refinery Manager, Manager of Corporate Affairs, Manager of the Environmental and Safety Department. He is a past Chairman of the Association of Oil Pipelines and the Owners Committee of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. He has served on TRB Committees for Pipelines and Public Safety and Alaska’s Oil and Gas Pipeline Infrastructure. He received a B.S. degree in engineering mechanics from Lehigh University and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and management, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  | NAS Committee page

Anyone with intact neural firing capacity notices a man who, for all practical purposes, is ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. Granted, he’s probably in his element sitting as an adviser on a National Academy of Sciences committee to present findings before a congressional inquiry. And as protocol would dictate, I’m sure Mr. Rabinow has been forthcoming with his own findings during his tenure as the head of ExxonMobil’s pipeline division concerning the safety and reliability of pipes buried 2 feet below the ground seventy years ago which rupture as consistently and reliably as a Yellowstone geyser.

One of those pipes ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, on March 29, 2013. One month later, Exxon is still struggling to keep the public at bay and the media out of their spill site as local residents struggle to cope with the scientific fact that their beloved Lake Conway is now irreversibly damaged. I’d like to mention my own research, and remind anyone interested in following up on the progress in Mayflower that activists here are facing death threats, police assault, and toxic fumes that contain some of the deadliest carbon compounds known to science. Local media coverage of these facts remains: ZERO.

In closing, as I sit here scratching my head, I am in receipt of an email from an activist researching ExxonMobil’s spill in Missouri. Today. Same Pegasus Pipeline. Same Tar Sands oil. The pipeline which was shut down over a month ago is still leaking. We are left with an obvious, simple question: If these pipes were buried in Arkansas in the 1940’s, and no one in state or local government even knew they existed, how well were they regulated over a 70-year period of invisibility? We don’t need a committee to interpret that. The National Academy of Sciences cannot fix a non-existent system. It can only report what the data reflects. And this is what the data reflects: ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline is corroded, and corrupting the natural environment at a rapidly increasing pace. Anything beyond that fact is pure politics. We don’t need politics now. We don’t need a committee to report on what we already know. We need direct action.

Even though Forest Fire wasn’t my favourite course, I am glad that it was mandatory for us to take. It gave me a new understanding, appreciation and respect for forest firefighters (and firefighters in general). 

I can’t help but think how many graduates, and even people I currently go to college with, are controlling and fighting those fires right now. MASSIVE respect for them. They’re risking their lives for our safety. They’re being more brave than I could ever imagine myself being. 

I hope everyone in those areas are safe!! Most important thing!!