Editorial: Thoughts with Fort Mac

It was a tragic week for residents of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

It was a tragic week for residents of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

As many as 80,000 residents fled their homes and barely escaped with their lives as a wildfire erupted and barreled into the city.

About 1,600 structures — including houses, mobile homes, businesses, a hotel and even a gas station — have been confirmed lost already, and there could be more taken as the massive blaze gets pushed around by high winds.

Forecasters said the catastrophic event was caused by a perfect storm of conditions: less than 30 per cent humidity, above 30C temperatures and wind gusts of more than 30 kilometres per hour.

Video footage posted on social media from evacuees on cell phones and dash cams fleeing the flames has brought the terrifying scenes to life; people driving through infernos to escape the city, suburbs on fire and skies black with smoke.

Survivors who lived it said it was like witnessing an apocalypse.

In the House of Commons Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the evacuees, many of whom will not have homes or jobs to go back to, have the support of all Canadians.

He also announced the Government of Canada will match all donations to the Red Cross to assist those impacted by the wildfires.

Interim opposition leader Rona Ambrose described the people of Fort McMurray as good, honest Canadians whose hard work has built the economic engine that Fort McMurray has become in the last two decades.

She reminded everyone that we have all benefitted from the riches that the oilsands have brought to this country.

In an emotional moment, Trudeau crossed the floor and hugged Ambrose after her speech, leading by example to all Canadians that there are times to put political differences aside — and this is one of those times.

– Williams Lake Tribune

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