I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but I am Canadian.
Red, white and proud!
There are a lot of stereotypes about Canada that are hilarious because they’re mostly true – or so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. One of those stereotypes, that no one in Canada is laughing about at the moment, is the image of a plaid clad lumber jack.
Oh, wait, that’s not right … ah, heck! We’ll claim him as ours!
Yep, most of our country is covered in forests, or tundra, or some other form of wilderness, and there is a huge portion of our population that makes their living by working in said wilderness. I grew up in a town called Prince George whose economy is largely based on forestry – logging, pulp and paper mills, and in the summer months, tree planting. All three of my step-brothers earned their way through university by tree planting all summer long. It’s hot, dirty, dangerous work but the pay is excellent!
Living as we do surrounded by forests, we are fully aware of the dangers of forest fires. But to be honest, they still feel like distant occurrences that happen miles away from civilization and not something that affects our every day life. Even when the residents of Kelowna could see the fires on the far side of Lake Okanagan and some of the vineyards were lost to the Glenrosa fire in 2009, we felt safe. We have some of the best trained fire fighters in the world after all! This is what we expect every summer – or as it’s known in some circles, Fire Season. Last summer the conditions were so bad there was a total ban on fires across our province. Camp fires or fire pits in your back yard, it didn’t matter, it was verboten! Hot weather, a drier than normal winter, lower water reservoirs, and tinder dry conditions meant many more fires than normal. Here in the Lower Mainland we could see, smell, and taste the effects of a massive fire up the coast from us as the skies turned orange from the smoke and everywhere you went you came back smelling like you’d just been camping.
It was scary but still “something that happens in remote areas and affects few people”.
The recent events in a town called Fort McMurray changed all that for ALL Canadians.
It started in the bush, from multiple lightening strikes – as most of the fires do around here – and authorities were concerned but not alarmed that residential properties could be in its path. And then the temperatures soared and the winds changed and suddenly a massive fire was racing towards the town. Within hours all 80,000 residents were told to run. Grab what you could and get the heck out of dodge! We were shocked with images of people driving down highways with raging fires on either side. Through smoke so thick they couldn’t see the tail lights of the vehicle in front of them. Hectares upon hectares burned up in minutes!
It was unreal! Even now, as the smoke is beginning to clear and the damage is being assessed, it feels a bit like a scene from a movie rather than something that is really happening in our neighbouring province. The downtown portion of Fort Mac (as it is affectionately called) is mostly untouched, but there are plenty of videos and still photos on the web showing neighbourhood after neighbourhood of nothing but burnt homes. The satellite images are mind blowing! But it is real and real help is needed.
Here’s where you can help.
Do you remember that Mini-Bundle I had a hand in producing?
We always intended to only sell it over the weekend of (Inter)National Scrapbook Day but we have re-opened the cart for a very special reason. One of our designers, Carole Cassel of The Scrapbook Campus, pledged to donate all the monies she earned to the Canadian Red Cross to go towards the fire victims of Fort McMurray. She’s from New Brunswick – way over on the East Coast of Canada. Almost as far from the fires as you can get in Canada but this thing has touched everyone! Her pledge got picked up by the manufacturer of the digital software she teaches people how to use, Paint Shop Pro by Corel. Corel shared her post on their Facebook page and because of the added interest we decided to re-open the cart and add to the monies already going to Fort McMurray because of Carole’s generosity.
What’s in it for you?
For $12.99 and you will get the Mini-Bundle that includes:
- A fun and creative summer art journal to make with and for your kids.
- 28 video tutorials on how to create your own digital papers.
- Printable calendar and ledger papers so you can create your own travelers notebook style planner or scrapbook.
- And five digital templates or printable sketches to help you make beautiful pages however you scrapbook.
In return, Carole will be donating her commissions to the Red Cross. Any money donated to the Red Cross will be matched dollar for dollar by the Federal Government so it’s like donating twice! Gotta love that! You get a fun bundle of goodies to keep your creative juices flowing over the summer months, and the thousands of people in Fort McMurray who lost their homes, their jobs, their neighbourhoods, get the aid they so desperately need.
Want a sobering image? How’s this?
That red area is how large the Fort Mac fire is compared to the Lower Mainland. Yikes! Talk about huge and devastating!
Or how about compared to London?
Or New York?
The fires are not out yet so these red areas will only get larger.
Help out. Buy a bundle.