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  • Writer's pictureKyle Sooley-Brookings

Remembering the Fort McMurray wildfire

By jasonwoodhead23 - Super 8 hotel Fort McMurray may 4 2016, CC BY 2.0,

It has been five years since Canada watched in horror as Fort McMurray was severely damaged by a wildfire.

The fire started on May 1 southwest of Fort McMurray. By May 3, the fire swept through the city, forcing 88,000 people to evacuate. The province of Alberta declared a state of emergency.

The wildfire destroyed approximately 2,400 homes and buildings.

A combined effort of local firefighters, RCMP, the Canadian Forces, as well as other Canadian provincial agencies fought to bring the blaze under control.

The federal and provincial government along with the Canadian Red Cross and other local and national charitable organizations provided aid to the evacuees.

After moving through Fort McMurray the blaze spread across northern Alberta and into Saskatchewan. It consuming forested areas and impacted the Athabasca oil sands. With an estimated damage cost of C$9.9 billion, it was the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

The fire spread across about 590,000 hectares before it was declared to be under control on July 5.

It continued to smoulder and was fully extinguished on August 2. It is suspected to have been caused by humans in a remote area 15 kilometres from Fort McMurray.

No official cause has been determined to date.

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