Gateway Gazette

Fort McMurray Wildfire Anniversary Statements from Premier and Mayor

Fort McMurray wildfire anniversary: Statement from Premier Notley

Premier Rachel Notley issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the wildfire in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:

“One year ago, Albertans and the world were shocked by the devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

“On this sombre anniversary, we mourn the two lives that were tragically lost: Emily Ryan, who was 15, and Aaron Hodgson, who was 19.

“We also remember all that the fire took from people – their homes, their baby photos and all the cherished belongings that helped to anchor so many cherished memories.

“This is also an opportunity to extend our gratitude to our brave emergency responders – whether they were from Alberta or came to help from beyond our borders. The same is true for the companies and businesses that put aside their work so they could help their neighbours, friends and loved ones find safety. While we honour those incredible efforts, we also pause to reflect on the many small, yet significant, acts of grace that we know saved lives.

“Albertans have long known the people of Fort McMurray are as caring and resilient as they come – the evacuation proved that to the world.

“This past year has not been easy for the women, men and families of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo. They bear the memories of those anxious days and still face many challenges in rebuilding their lives.

“The Government of Alberta remains committed to helping the people and communities of Wood Buffalo. We continue to support the FireSmart program to help ensure that such a disaster does not happen again. We are providing property tax relief. We are committed to learning the lessons of the wildfire, to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again. And we remain committed to providing mental health and wellness assistance for our fellow Albertans.

“In showing us the worst, the Wood Buffalo wildfire brought out the best. The spirit of our province, brave, caring and undefeated, is something to cherish even in the midst of tragedy. On this day, to all those who were and remain affected by the fires, we extend our condolences, honour our heroes and recommit ourselves to helping people and families recover.”

Wildfire anniversary: Statement from Mayor Melissa Blake

The Government of Alberta has issued the following statement on behalf of Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:

“Today, as we mark the anniversary of the evacuation of Fort McMurray, we pause to reflect on the remarkable experiences of the past year.

“On behalf of regional council and all residents, I thank all the first responders who worked tirelessly to evacuate us safely and then stayed behind to ensure that we had a community to which we could return. To all the volunteers, community partners, governments and stakeholders who provided every type of assistance imaginable, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To all the Canadians from coast to coast to coast who opened their hearts and homes to us, we will forever be in your debt. During the darkest time in our history, these overwhelming acts of kindness and compassion sustained us.

“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the incredible strength and spirit of our residents. Throughout all the challenges of the last year, this community has come together to support each other every step of the way. Time and again, we’ve seen firsthand that we are in this together.

“While we are making solid progress in the rebuild and recovery, many of us are still managing the direct impacts of the Horse River fire. As we recognize that recovery takes time and affects everyone differently, local resources are available to support the health and well-being of the people of our community. For more information, please visit www.RMWB.ca/Support.

“Once again, we extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who reached out with assistance during those difficult days – and throughout the last year. We could not have made it this far without the tremendous outpouring of support. We are filled with a deep gratitude for all the help we’ve received and look forward to continued support as we work towards a full recovery.”

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