Sunday, July 31, 2016
The great forest fire of 1916
Canadians were shocked earlier this year to see the destruction of the forest fires in Fort McMurray. But it was 100 years ago this week that the worst ever forest fire in Canadian history burned in the area of Matheson, Nushka (Val Gagne), Porquis and Iroquois Falls, just east of Timmins. The difference back then is there was no early warning and when the flames did roar into these tiny settlements, the destruction was complete. There were no teams of firefighters in helicopters, no aerial water bombers, no modern evacuation procedures. The fire was half a million acres in size. The death toll is estimated at 223 persons, but it was likely higher than that. And yet these communities rose up after the fire and the people found the strength to carry on. I am always amazed when I read about things like that. We live in a fabulous country, but it is the people like this who have made it great.