a larger area than the province of Prince Edward Island (566,000 hectares)
that's the equivalent of more than a million canadian football fields
Wildfire crews from across the country, and around the world came to battle the flames. Over 350 are members of AUPE.
A big job calls for big tools, and it doesn’t get much bigger than this fire season. Including ‘the Beast,’ there are 17 fires burning in Alberta. To battle fires of this scale, the province mobilized an enormous fleet of equipment.
While there was no loss of life as a direct result of the flames, the fire did take a heavy toll on property.
Within a day, Fort McMurray residents, including roughly 670 AUPE members, had been safely evacuated – an astonishing feat logistically.
Health care workers – including dozens of AUPE members – helped officials safely evacuate the Northern Lights Regional Hospital.
When the mandatory evacuation notice was announced, the options were limited for escape: north and south by highway, or a flight out. The chart below reflects a best estimate of where the citizens of Fort McMurray fled in the hours and days following May 3.
Canadians moved quickly to donate toward relief efforts. Fort McMurray donations set a new record for the Canadian Red Cross, shattering the previous domestic disaster donation tally.
On behalf of its members, AUPE pledged $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross. On top of this, AUPE locals made donations to an AUPE members’ benefits wildfire fund totalling more than $44,000.
Within weeks of the evacuation the Alberta government provided emergency assistance for evacuees forced from their homes.
As the fire moved in and humans moved out, Fort McMurray’s animal population also struggled to survive.
As part of the oil sands reclamation process, roughly 300 bison live on an old mine site. As fire approached, their handlers penned them in safely and kept them fed and watered. Not only did the whole herd survive, but several calves were born and the animals are thriving.
The SPCA worked tirelessly in the days following the fire to locate and evacuate over 600 pets from Fort McMurray. Many animal shelters across the province offered up free pet care spaces and airlines loosened up their rules to ensure evacuated residents could travel with their pets in the cabin as they fled the fire.
The risks for people and wildlife aren’t over when the fire is out. Hungry bears have entered the city to scavenge and officials have received over 30 complaints already. Two bears were captured and relocated and two more were sadly killed.