Just in time for Thanksgiving, Fort McMurray has released a video expressing its gratitude for Canadians across the country who came to their need during the devastating wildfires earlier this year.
A video posted on the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Facebook page on Friday begins with scenes of the fiery blaze before members of the community talked about how Canadians came together to support them and how they are now rebuilding.
It’s all part of the municipality’s campaign to thank a million Canadians.
“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for, and this weekend we are thankful for the support of Canadians,” reads the caption on the video. “Your thoughts, prayers, donations, volunteer hours, hand-made gifts, shipments of supplies and kind words are a constant reminder of the care the residents of Wood Buffalo received in their time of need.”
The wildfire began on May 1 southwest of Fort McMurray, and fuelled by high winds it quickly grew into a highly destructive disaster. By May 3, the fire began to encroach the town, leading to the mandatory evacuation of the entire community.
Approximately 90,000 people were forced to abandon their homes as the fire swept through the town and destroyed 2,400 buildings. An area of 5,900 square kilometres was burnt, which is equivalent to the geographic size of Toronto’s metropolitan area.
The extent of the damage is estimated at $3.58 billion, making it the most devastating natural disaster in Canadian history.
There were no direct wildfire injuries or fatalities, but two people were killed in a vehicle collision during the evacuation. Residents began returning to their homes during the first week of June – an entire month after the wildfire began.
About $300 million has been donated to the Canadian Red Cross to assist victims.