Fort McMurray: Much different scene today, still rebuilding
Thursday, May 3, 2018, 12:56 PM - May 3 marks the second anniversary of the day that thousands of Fort McMurray residents were forced to leave their homes as a massive wildfire burned more than 500,000 hectares of land. The wildfire began on May 1, 2016, but it was two days before the flames reached Fort McMurrary, forcing about 88,000 residents to flee. It's now known as one of Canada's largest evacuations as well as the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
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Unseasonably high temperatures and bone-dry terrain, coupled with winds and a lack of snowpack from the previous winter, made the fire especially difficult to control (see the video above for a full weather breakdown as well as the very first minutes of the fire with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton). A shift in the wind did eventually send the fire moving slowly away from the city, but as of July 4, 2016, it had burned around 590,000 hectares.
Thankfully this year, current favourable weather conditions help to paint a much different (and calmer) view of the city, but the region remains in recovery mode with several residents still displaced from their homes that were destroyed.
"I think [the recovery] is going to take a couple of years," Don Scott, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said in an interview ahead of the wildfire anniversary. "We are far from being beyond this."
IN PHOTOS: THEN AND NOW - THE DIFFERENCE IS SHOCKING
"The Moon:" Kelvin Keith - Fort McMurray, Alberta (May 3)
"Sunset on the Clearwater River:" Denise Martineau - Fort McMurray, Alberta (May 2)