Fort McMurray Wildfire Response
On May 1, 2016 a wildfire only two hectares in size was discovered by fire crews in Fort McMurray. They immediately jumped on the blaze, but despite their efforts, within hours this blaze turned into one of Canada’s most destructive fires.
Within a week, Fort McMurray was put under a mandatory evacuation order and 80,000 people fled from the inferno. Two hundred helicopters and 500 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire that reached 161, 197 hectares. Meanwhile, the rest of Canada watched in disbelief and wondered “what can we do to help?”
ADRA Canada and the Alberta Conference, with the help from our donors, partnered with GlobalMedic to assist those affected. ADRA’s Executive Director James Astleford was at the GlobalMedic warehouse in Toronto to help pack 2,000 hygiene kits containing toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap and a washcloth. Air Canada then flew the kits to Edmonton free of charge.
Once the kits reached Edmonton volunteers from ADRA Canada, GlobalMedic, and GlobalFire loaded them into the Alberta Conference Disaster Response Trailer. Additional supplies were loaded at the Edmonton South Seventh-day Adventist Church, which had opened its doors as a donation centre. The trailer then delivered the items to Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum where evacuees were being sheltered. 16 truckloads were delivered.
ADRA Canada has since partnered with the Province of Alberta and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to open the Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre in Edmonton.
We have accepted the responsibility of managing all incoming non-cash donations for Fort McMurray. Our goal is to help meet the ongoing needs of those who have been affected by this disaster. We are grateful for the trust and confidence of the Province and the Municipality in our capabilities to manage this task.
We would like to thank the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society and the City of Edmonton for all of their hard work in meeting the needs of evacuees. Their immediate response has touched hundreds of lives and we hope to continue the great work they have done.
If you would like to know more, check out the Alberta Government’s press release.