Fort McMurray Wild Fire 2016

As many of you have seen on TV or social media (or my constant re-tweets)there is a huge wildfire burning in Fort McMurray and surrounding area in Northern Alberta. It has gone from a small wild-fire to threatening the town and causing an evacuation of 88,000 people. The fire has burned on despite the tireless efforts of crews on the ground and the air. Last check it was nearly 161,000 hectares; larger than the metropolitan area of the city of Toronto. Many homes and businesses were lost. People fled and the photos and video of the traffic through dense smoke, ash and burning embers with fire close to the road side is scary. It seems so unreal like a movie or something from a nightmare. People somehow remained calm and left in an orderly fashion. The silver lining to this tragedy  – no lives were lost in the fire.

Watch a video here from a dash cam. It starts with smoke then fire and ash with a sky black as night.

Heart warming stories have come out of the tragedy with people offering space in their homes, on their land for pasture animals to campers. A woman who lost her wedding dress was overwhelmed with offers. Free food, gas and supplies were given by many businesses. In the first few days people risked going back into the fire zone to save animals that got left behind. People were devastated when forced to evacuate from work with no time to return home to grab a few mementos, pack a bag and save their 4 legged family members. Then there is the outpouring of support with donations of food, clothing, necessities and money. Over $44 million has been raised in days. The support, love and caring certainly has not been lacking.

Fire burns near a road in Fort McMurray, Alberta on Tuesday May 3, 2016.

Look at what people were driving beside as they escaped their homes and city! photo by Holly Ayearst

I have never been to Fort Mac, but John has worked outside the town for years. The pictures touch your heart as you see Alberta face another natural disaster. Only 3 years ago Calgary and surrounding areas were devastated by floods. As this all comes as a part of Emergency Preparedness Week we must all stop and take pause. Are we prepared? We can’t think it will never happen to me. Think about what you would do in this situation. What if you had only 10 minutes to leave? Surely you would be panicked and not thinking clearly. Take time now to get a few things together and put it in a bag, box or tote. Hopefully you will never use it, but prepared just in case.

On May 4, 2016, the the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on the Landsat 7 satellite acquired this false-color image of the wildfire that burned through Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. The image combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light (bands 5-4-2). Near- and short-wave infrared help penetrate clouds and smoke to reveal the hot spots associated with active fires, which appear red. Smoke appears white and burned areas appear brown.

The satellite image of the area above. -Photo NASA -Joshua Stevens

People are in limbo as they cannot get back in and see the devastation and damage first hand. Some homes and entire neighbourhoods have been reduced to ash. Others have some damage. The unknown must be the hardest part. Not having a timeline when it is safe enough to return must be heart wrenching. The fire started a week ago and no end in sight as it continues to burn. At least the hot dry and very unseasonable temperatures have cooled off. Now we just need to pray for rain and lots of it.Everything is tinder dry after a mild winter with little snow followed by a spring with little rain.

Smoke and flames from the wildfires erupt behind a car on the highway near Fort McMurray, Alta., May 7, 2016.

Photo Mark Blinch

Thanks must go out to the firefighters, police and first responders, our everyday heroes. We must also say thanks for all the love support kindness and support that has spread and grown during this time of need. The numerous touching stories are endless from people offering hugs to a young boy raising money with an old school lemonade stand. If you want to donate to the Red Cross it is easy. I will add the info below. Our government has pledged to match every dollar that Red Cross raises.

Home foundations are all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Some of the first images of what was left after the wildfire ripped through Monday and Tuesday. – Photo   Scott Olson

How to help:

text – in Canada by texting  “REDCROSS” to 30333 you can donate $5

call – 1-800-418-1111

website – click here to go to the Red Cross website to make a donation using a credit card

Stay tuned…

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30 thoughts on “Fort McMurray Wild Fire 2016

  1. That fire is such a horrible thing, especially since we keep hearing on the news wvery day that it has doubled in size every 24 hours. It is so good to hear that people are so giving in the face of such a disaster.

    • It is scary. We are loving the warmer winter and the summery temps of late then this put it all in perspective. We need that cold and rain for a good reason. It is overwhelming with all the media. I just can’t stop watching it.

  2. Reblogged this on Busy Mind Thinking and commented:
    URGENT!!! Details on how to help.

    • Thanks so much for the re-blog.

      • You’re most welcome. The cause is one worth re-blogging, bringing everyone together in hope and support.

        • Yes we need to get the word out. My hope is as it slides out of the headlines people don’t forget because the rebuild is going to take some time. At least 2 more weeks before residents are allowed back in as they make it safe due to downed power lines and hot spots that could still spark up.

          • I have been following the news as I have family and friends there, in addition to all the folks there. Yes, the re-build is going to be costly. I pray for peace of mind for all.

            • The waiting and unknown must be troubling. The fire chief and media have been trying show what is left, although many have focused on the devastation. Storm hunters from the Weather Network (Canada) have been showing both, which is probably helpful for those wondering about their street and neighbourhood.
              Hubby worked in the oil patch, just North of Fort Mac, so I am following it too.
              Good news -today they said most is under control now.

  3. Pingback: Fort McMurray Wild Fire 2016 – Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world

    • Thanks for sharing my post 🙂 It is always terrible to be the bearer of bad news, but if it offers support and help in this case it is worth it. Also to share the good, hard work and support of people pulling together is a silver lining.

  4. Omg!!! It is good to read about the willingness to help though. But that is scary! Hope people get away on time!

    • Everyone was able to get out. Friends, neighbours and strangers helped get people and pets out safely. The video images look like something from a movie. I can’t imagine the fear as they drove through that fire and smoke.

      • Me neither. Such true life horror movie! So happy to here there were no casualties!

        • Only reports of fatalities so far were of a car crash south of the evacuation area… possible result of the fires. Terrible none the less.
          Yesterday and today firefighters were going in to assess damages now that it is safer to do so. Hopefully they find only loss of structures. No reports of missing people, so that is a good sign.

  5. I can’t tick the ‘like’ button today, but this is a really good post. I’ve been reading and watching news of this tragedy and hear that the fire could burn for months unless there are very heavy rains. Those poor people.

    • Thanks Gilly.
      It is terrible and my heart goes out to them. It has been so dry this year and we have enjoyed the warmer temperatures, but it comes with consequences. This area is far north and lots of forest, grasses and peat. Everything is so dry, some places inaccessible. It will be a long time before they are sure all the hot spots are out. This soft peat can cover embers that can cause flare ups, according to Weather Network reports. This is why it is so wide spread and possibly long term. A small light rain yesterday and today helped, but much more is desperately needed.

      • I really hope that nature steps in to help quickly 😦

        • Yes they need lots of rain. Luckily it has cooled down, so that has helped. Yesterday they let reporters in to view the city. Only 10-15% of the town is destroyed thanks to the great efforts of the fire crews. The Toronto Star newspaper has a comic today saying they are superheros. Very true.

  6. Freda Goulet

    Canadians are stepping up to the plate and helping…we always do! I hope countries that Canada has helped in the past: remember Katrina…Canada helped, Chernobyl…Canada helped, Iraq….Canada helped…..I hope the countries that Canada has helped and continues to help will step forward with their offers of help. This huge “beast” is too much for us to conquer alone….

    • Yes it would be nice for support from other places. I am surprised at the lack of help being offered from outside our boarders. However, as you say Canada is doing a good job with donations and managing pretty well thus far.

    • Freda Goulet

      I stand corrected…I read tonight that Russia, Mexico, and the United States have all offered to help fight the fires in Ft Mac but Prime minister Trudeau refused their help…he said Canada is handling it…..

      • Oh wow I didn’t hear that. I have been watching the news and on Twitter and missed that. Thanks for sharing and making sure we have all the correct facts.

  7. Sadly, two lives were lost yesterday in a car crash in Fort McMurray of two who were evacuating. A 15 and a 19 year old. It was nice to hear they got a bit of rain yesterday. It slowed the spread of the fire. I couldn’t imagine driving through that…

    • Thanks for sharing about the crash. I didn’t mention it in the post since it wasn’t caused by the fire, or was it? I didn’t have enough information to comment on it accurately.
      I know those videos of people driving with the fire so close… I think I would have been panicked! Everyone seemed so calm and orderly despite the chaotic situation. Bravo to them for keeping calm! #everydayheroes

      • They were calm and orderly and that’s probably why everyone was safe. The only thing I know about the crash was the the kids were 19 and 15 and evacuating the city by car when their vehicle crossed the center line and hit head on with a tractor trailer and caught fire. So, I guess it wasn’t caused directly by the wildfires, but the wildfires did cause them to be on the highway. Sad story either way.

  8. These images are so scary and terrifying. I can’t imagine how people were able to drive through those flaming trees to safety. Alberta hasn’t had a very good go in recent years, has it?

    • I know… only 3 years the floods and now this. Those pics are terrifying aren’t they. I get chills just watching the videos. As one reporter said most of those people work in the oil industry and they have extensive safety training, so that must have helped them keep order and a clear head in such a chaotic situation.

  9. what a horrible time…we are all told to prepare here for a quick getaway due to earthquakes

    • Scary isn’t it? … I just can’t imagine. This year they are worried about more wildfires since it was so dry last fall, winter and spring. The fire is still burning, but luckily away from town. As of June 1st some areas have been allowing people to move back, while others have allowed people only to return to gather things. Unfortunately some people have returned to have their worst fears confirmed. On hand are trained people to sift through the remains and find whatever they can, so people have something… however little it has been to them it is priceless.
      Where are you? In the US? earthquakes? Be safe!

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