Remembering the 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire

Posted by Kyle Brookings on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It has been two years since the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray.

On May 3, it swept through the community, forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta's history, with upwards of 88,000 people forced from their homes.

Personnel from the Canadian Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as firefighting forces from Alberta, other Canadian provincial agencies, and South Africa responded to the wildfire. Aid for evacuees was provided by various governments and via donations through the Canadian Red Cross and other local and national charitable organizations.

Sweeping through Fort McMurray, the wildfire destroyed approximately 2,400 homes and buildings. Another 2,000 residents in three communities were displaced after their homes were declared unsafe for reoccupation due to contamination.

It continued to spread across northern Alberta and into Saskatchewan, consuming forested areas and impacting Athabasca oil sands operations. With an estimated damage cost of C$9.9 billion, it is the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares before it was declared to be under control on July 5, 2016. It continued to smoulder, and was fully extinguished on August 2, 2017. It is suspected to be caused by humans in a remote area 15 kilometres from Fort McMurray, but no official cause has been determined to date.

The Team

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