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.”