I'm one province over - a 3-4 hour flight from Fort McMurray - but we're starting to get the smoke from the fires here. Saskatoon is closer than we are and the Weather Network lists the current condition in Saskatoon simply as "smoke."
I can't think the city will ever be the same - if any of it even remains. It's an unbelievable disaster. The videos are horrifying.
Fort McMurray is an oil and gas town - the place where guys could go straight out of high school to make dumptrucks of money if they could handle hard work and rugged conditions. Around here, most people would know at least one person who had gone up there. It had fallen on hard times before this with the slump in the price of oil. I heard one report that because of the economic slowdown, some folks there had been cutting back or cancelling insurance to help make ends meet. Scary.
And forest fire season hasn't even begun yet. We're coming off the warmest and driest winter I can remember, by far - we had no snow on the ground by the end of February. It's 81F here as I'm typing this at 7:45pm - on this day last year, my boss had to wear a winter jacket to sit outside at her son's ball game.
As much as I despise Pataki and Rudy, I hope both do run in the '08 primary. Seeing those two catfight each other would make fun TV. Hopefully, neither would get the nomination and both would permanently slink away.