The wildfire that forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray in the spring of 2016 had a terrible impact on the people who live there, including the employees of oil sands producers and their families. Many experienced fear, uncertainty and loss. At the same time, it was an opportunity for the community to join together with inspiring acts of heroism, and an enduring spirit of generosity, helpfulness and optimism.
In a series of videos published by CBC.ca, members of Alberta’s oil sands community share their experiences of the Fort McMurray wildfire, and what they did to help out.
The former hockey enforcer has had many battles, but the Fort McMurray wildfire is something Mel Angelstad won’t ever forget. He’s a Suncor firefighter and shares his two distinct memories of the blaze.
Among the chaos of thousands of evacuees arriving at Suncor’s Firebag oilsands facility, staff try their best to care for those fleeing the wildfire.
After the 11 hour drive on the congested highway out of Fort McMurray, Jen Reid arrived at Shell’s Albian Sands oilsands mine, where she works. Although she was shaken up by the Fort McMurray wildfire evacuation, she tried to lend a hand to help other evacuees arriving at the site.
Curtis and Mavis Ure welcomed twin boys to their family, however hours later the hospital in Fort McMurray is evacuated.
The supervisor of the aerodrome at the Suncor Firebag oilsands facility describes how his team transformed a maintenance shop into a makeshift hospital. Patients from Fort McMurray arrived by bus during the wildfire.
Grant Zellweger has several memorable stories about all the pets people brought with them to Shell Albian Sands as they fled the wildfire near Fort McMurray.
Oilsands heavy equipment operator Jodi Smith shares her memory of helping to organize flights for Fort McMurray evacuees.