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LETTER: Thank you to first responders during wildfire near Dead Man's Flats

Editor: I don’t have licence to speak for others, but I need to take a moment to recognize the efforts of those who made an impactful statement on the lives of residents in Dead Man's Flats. The recent fire along the Trans-Canada, east of our

Editor:

I don’t have licence to speak for others, but I need to take a moment to recognize the efforts of those who made an impactful statement on the lives of residents in Dead Man's Flats.

The recent fire along the Trans-Canada, east of our community, quickly brought into focus the fragility of our lives in the Bow Valley, but especially for the 300 or so residents of the hamlet. We witnessed the power of a forest fire first hand, something occasionally witnessed from a distance, but more often than not viewed on television as an event happening somewhere else to someone else.

It’s frightening, but fascinating to watch helicopters work in unison, collecting water from the river in baskets hanging from long-lines, returning to the fire, hover and drop their cargo like pelicans diving for chum tossed from a fishing boat. More impressive was the roar of a water bomber, executing a tree-top fly-by, releasing a load of retardant.

Most notable though, was watching and knowing the firefighters were the best of the best, both on the ground and in the air, who were committed to facing down the threat of a potentially explosive forest fire.

From the on-scene command team, a fluid situation was assessed with urgency. To the air crews, working in poor visibility and swirling air currents, your expertise was a sight to behold. To the ground crews, who rushed in and became silhouettes in the billowing smoke, I don’t have the words to commend your actions.

I will not call you heroes because this is a profession you chose, knowing full well the risks. You committed yourself through training and executed your knowledge and abilities with precision.

What I must do though, is recognize your selfless commitment and acknowledge the professionalism you displayed over the three days this fire threatened our community. To those on the ground and in the air, thank you. To the on-scene management and those on standby, thank you. To the emergency personnel and volunteers, both in Canmore and the MD of Bighorn, thank you. To those behind the scenes who provided communication and support services, thank you. To those of you who don’t get recognized for your efforts, thank you.

In these trying times, you provided us all with a level of reassurance that is very much appreciated.

Paul Baumberg,

Dead Man’s Flats