That could happen here

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I am as appalled as anyone by what is happening in Alberta right now.

No, I'm probably more appalled.

As your self-designated, self-righteous rural Antipodean, the images of those helpless cars crawling between those immense walls of flame are almost more than I can stand. 

If you will allow me to be brutally honest with you now, and I apologize for this in advance, we need to understand that most of the population of Fort McMurray should be dead right now. Absolutely trapped, suffocated and burned to death by this terribly strong and sudden fire.

Or was it so sudden? Authorities knew conditions were dangerously dry, had been for months. The fire that forced the almost instantaneous evacuation of a city of 88,000 people had been burning for days. Why did these people have to flee at the last possible second? Why were so many people alerted to the imminent danger, not by a well-coordinated and executed emergency plan, but by alarmed neighbours belting on front doors?

These questions will no doubt be asked in time. I certainly hope so.

Meanwhile, in safe quiet green little Pontiac, we are safe from such awful threats to life and property.

For now.

I suppose.

In my travels today, I passed all three of our so-called fire danger information signs. Those at the Quyon and Breckenridge entrances to our Municipality were simply and utterly wrong. Only the arrow on the Eardley-Masham Road was actually within any kind of useful section of the fire danger range and this, I am extremely sorry to say, is because I climbed through the ditch and put the arrow there myself a few weeks ago, attaching it in place with a screw I actually installed MYSELF several years ago. (I've used tape on the other two in the past. Of course, that doesn't last as long but I don't always travel with a screwdriver, curiously.) 

I am sorry to sound cross and bewildered by this but the fact is, those poor troubled signs are the only indications your average resident of this region is ever going to have of an elevated fire danger.

And the more often the arrows point to the ground -- or, incredibly, blow off and become lost in the road-side grass - the less chance that we, as a community, will ever be prepared to escape alive from those insane walls of fire, if they should one day appear here, God forbid.

Please, please, capable and concerned members of the Fire Department and the council of the Municipality of Pontiac: please just look after our three little fire signs.

Don't make me keep doing it by myself.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Riding in style: massive upgrade to Pontiac bus route

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Kate Aley

It's smooth and it's quiet with internet access, a 36" flat screen TV and reclining seats and it leaves Allumette Island at 10 minutes to 5 am every day. This is the new coach that runs Route 148 and you can be on it. This week, riders taking the Campeau Bus Line to the city were treated to a brand-new luxury coach, a demonstration vehicle in service before the permanent vehicle becomes available in about a weeks time.

Slipping back: background facts

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Kate Aley

Welcome back. While I wait for my file on the accident (December 4) to be retrieved by the MRC des Collines police, I placed calls to two local people, experts on the trucking of manure. For those who are coming in late to this, see my previous "slippery" stories archived here.

Slippery story: the update

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Kate Aley

On Monday December 4, a serious accident was caused by some kind of slippery fluid being splashed all over the highway in Luskville. Many people commented on the unexpectedly deep puddles, the effort it took to stay on the road and the horrible stink of it. There was so much, a snow plow was called in to strip it off the road. What was that stuff? Where did it come from? I managed to find someone to talk to from the MTQ within two days. But as yet, my attempts to get information about this incident from the MRC des Collines police have been unproductive. 

Warming up for Christmas at the Santa Claus Parade

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Kate Aley

Once more the Quyon Lions' Club Santa Claus Parade, held Saturday December 9, was a great success. Warmly-dressed families lined the streets to enjoy the decorated floats, horses and of course, St. Nick himself. As the Beach Barn is conspicuously absent this year, the parade's normal route was reversed, with participants gathering at the Ste. Marie's Catholic church parking lot and walking down the hill to the intersection with Clarendon. From there, the parade continued to the Onslow Elementary School gym where hot food and drinks were served as kids lined up to speak to Santa about a few important matters.

Slippery sh*t: unidentified effluent causes accident

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Kate Aley

A serious single-vehicle roll-over was caused early morning on December 4 by a deep slick of some kind of waste matter spilled on Highway 148 near Parker Road in Luskville. Pools of what appeared to be septic waste or liquid animal manure were at least two or three meters in length and possibly 4 cm in depth, according to witnesses.

Christmas House Tour lights up the night

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Kate Aley

The houses on the Quyon Pastoral Charge Christmas House Tour warmly received 150 visitors this year. Five family homes in Quyon and Luskville were decorated to perfection to the appreciation of all. Above, the Draper homestead in Luskville.

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