Today marks one week since the wildfires started in Alberta, Canada and spread quickly through Fort McMurry town. The whole town has been evacuated (80,000+ residents), some with only the clothes on their back…others trying desperately to save their pets and livestock.
Albertans’ lives have been in turmoil since the wildfire, fuelled by strong winds, overwhelmed crews last Tuesday afternoon, cutting the main road through Fort McMurray and sending its 80,000+ inhabitants fleeing north and south. The southern evacuees took up residence at a main reception centre in Edmonton or in hotels, campgrounds or with friends (some flew across the country to stay with relatives or friends). The 25,000 evacuees forced to flee north to stay in oilsands work camps have now all been brought south to safety, where there are more supports and social services.
Officials have said that, even though the fire has largely pushed through Fort McMurray, the town is still too dangerous to enter; about 15% of the town has been touched by the fires, including 1600 homes burned to the foundation. Fire chief Darby Allen said many buildings lack essential services. Large areas of town have no power, water, and gas, he said. Provincial officials said displaced people would be better off driving to cities such as Calgary, where health and social services were better.
All residents will have to wait at least two weeks to hear when they might be allowed to return. One analyst from the Bank of Montreal estimated insurance losses could exceed $9-billion.
Unfortunately, the blaze will take months to extinguish, an Alberta fire official says.
Mitchell and I talked about this in a lengthy conversation. What would we do in case of a disaster? What is there really to do? How can one avoid this kind of disaster?
Although we live in Canada and we are famous for the cold winters and several feet high snow piles, shit like this happens when clouds decide not to squeeze any water out for a long time. British Columbia and California droughts are very real, to the point that there are yearly water restrictions, and Australian wildfires are no stranger to anyone living there… Global warming affects all of us!
If you can and wish to help those affected by the wildfires, Red Cross has set up a donation page specifically for help with the Alberta fires. You can also you text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation or text FIRES to 45678 to make a $10 donation.
Pray for all the residents of Fort McMurry affected by the wildfire.