By Anne Forster, Ottawa Citizen, January 7, 2020
The following is excerpted from a letter by Anne Forster, a former Ottawa resident, to her Canadian friends recently. She lives in Australia.
I have had so many messages from you over the last few days; you must be receiving the dramatic news and video of the horror scenes in the southeast. Please accept this letter to you all:
I gave my family face masks for Christmas, and room air purifiers. People in Australia’s cities are worried about the long-term effects of smoke; people in the regions are battling fires and losing their homes. It’s surreal.
lf you overlay a map of Australia on Canada, the fires cover the equivalent of a crescent from Prince Edward Island along the southern parts of Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario, missing the big urban centres and hitting again below Winnipeg and Calgary. These are our rich farming areas, dairies, fishing villages, snow country, ski areas and cottage areas, where artisans, organic farmers and creatives live in beautiful bush and seaside villages, with isolated, pristine beaches. Surrounded by dense national parks. The whole area teeming with wildlife, and retirees live there.https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/forster-struggling-with-australias-wildfires-were-on-the-leading-edge-of-climate-change