“One year ago today, more than 90,000 residents in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo evacuated their homes as a raging wildfire bore down on their communities. They left not knowing what, if anything, would be left to come back to. Many came back to find ashes and rubble where their homes and businesses once stood, and tragically two young Albertans lost their lives in a motor vehicle accident while evacuating. Our hearts remain with the families of Emily Ryan and Aaron Hodgson as they continue to mourn this monumental loss.
Throughout the evacuation, Albertans stepped up in a big way to offer support in whatever way they could. Whether it was driving up and down Highway 63 with bottles of water and jerry cans of fuel, volunteering at welcome centers or opening their homes and wallets to help evacuees, the overwhelming generosity of Albertans made a huge difference for so many.
One year later, there is still much rebuilding to do and this harrowing ordeal has left invisible scars on the hearts of all who call Wood Buffalo home. Our hope is that they will continue to heal and find strength in the support offered by fellow Albertans from all corners of the province.”