The destruction of 1600 homes in the northern Albertan town of Fort McMurray amidst apocalyptic shots on television of forest fire and flame has been jaw dropping to watch. Mercifully, no life has been lost excepting two fatalities resulting from a road traffic accident during the evacuation of the 80,000 residents. I hope it stays that way as well it might given cooler weather, some light rain and the herculean efforts of their fire fighters have capped the growth of the fires, for the moment at least. Fire fighting will though, continue for many weeks and months ahead before it is finally extinguished.
These big forest fires are becoming more common. A combination of global warming and successful campaigns to reduce fires, which has left more dead wood accumulating on the forest floors over recent years, mean that when they start, they get big quickly.
Notwithstanding that, Canada is a big country with lots of financial and manpower resources and being a stoic lot they'll quickly rebuild what has been lost. Canadians though, are always at the front of the queue to offer help when a bad thing happens elsewhere in the world. Wouldn't it then be a kind gesture for the Prime Minister to offer to fly over a regiment of Royal Engineers to help out, (especially as the British Army has been training in south west Alberta at BATUS since 1971)? Even better, lets rebuild the school that burnt down as a 'gift from the British people.' It wouldn't break the bank and especially given the events of 100 years ago, it would be a modest gesture of appreciation for all that Canadians do in the developing world today and all that they have done with us in the past.