The same fire that burns our homes, burns within our hearts. #AlbertaStrong
Friends, if you have not heard, my hometown of Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta, Canada is burning to the ground and needs your help.
The community of Wood Buffalo is surrounded by Boreal forest which becomes highly flammable throughout the dry summer months. If there is any heat, the muskeg ground holds it in and the fires can transfer easily. Overnight, the forest fires that were stated to be under control quite literally spread like wildfire.
Doubling in size and jumping the river that flows into the city, within the span of only a few hours on May 3, Fort McMurray was surrounded by a vicious and dangerous situation, and the entire city had to be evacuated.
Shocked, terrified and confused, thousands helplessly watched as they abandoned their burning homes. We have very limited access out of the city and for a few terrifying hours, the main route out was closed because of gas stations that exploded from the flames.
To update you on the current status, as I type this on May 4, because of the hard work of emergency responders, 88,000 people were safely evacuated and as it stands, there are no reported fatalities. We only hope and pray that number only climbs and that all lives are spared.
However, due to high temperatures and winds, officials expect that the worst of the fires is yet to come. We are not out of danger, and there are men and women working tirelessly around the clock, putting their lives on the line to defend and protect Northern Alberta from a monstrous fire.
The city is ash, soot and flame. Our homes are gone. What we knew is literally up in smoke. We have limited resources, and we need your help. We are a strong community, and we have a strong community focus. We need that support we’ve shown to thousands to be reciprocated to us.
We have countless individuals and communities banding together to help Fort McMurray out, but we need your help because there are literally thousands of people who have lost their homes, and are still trying to reach safety. Without you, what the heck do we do once we “get there?” Everything we had is gone.
However, at the Noralta Lodge evacuation site north of the city, out of devastation and chaos came the miracle of life through the birth of 2 babies. If nothing else, I believe this is a strong testament to the protection over our lives, as well as the tenacity to live, persevere and thrive.
Friends, we as a community have strong hearts and by the grace of God we will persevere and rebuild. But we are hurting and we are without homes. Please pray. Please help. Imagine the stories that would come if we united as one and helped/loved our neighbour.
There is beauty from ashes.
How You Can Help
- Donate to the Red Cross at any London Drugs location or online by using this link. You can also text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation.
- Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society are looking for specific items: diapers, baby wipes, NEW toiletries (such as soap, shampoo, tampons, toothpaste etc.) and NEW socks and underwear. Bring your donations directly to ERS and NOT Northlands. They are located at 10255 104th Street. If you’d like to volunteer with ERS, please call 780-428-4422 and leave a message if you can’t get through.
- Sign up at www.ymmfire.ca to be matched with someone in need of housing, rental properties, etc.
- Edmonton’s Food Bank is accepting donations at major grocery stores and fire halls. You can also donate online.
- You can connect with evacuees on the Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Page
- Calgary Radio Station: How You Can Help Fort Mac