Fire: Entire Canadian City Evacuated

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In summary, 20,000 people have arrived in Edmonton from Fort McMurray, with 88,000 people evacuated. The fire is still raging, and authorities are asking for help with supplying gas to stranded motorists.f
  • #3
One of my good friends was among those evacuated. He told me some people were stranded with no gas on the side of the road, with the fires not too far away.
  • #4
I dodged a bullet. We were up in Edmonton yesterday with plans to head up to Fort McMurray for meetings.
Those meetings got canceled (for unrelated reasons). So we instead came back to Calgary. We would have been arriving just as the full evacuation was called.

He told me some people were stranded with no gas on the side of the road

Problem is one of the gas stations on the south side of the city burnt down, the others had been emptied for safety reasons.
There are couple stations in around Anzac just south west of the city, but they can of course only hold so much gas. Beyond that it's ~300km (190miles) to the next gas station. With so many people on the 2 highways (I think they said that 50000 people were sent south) its been pretty much gridlock. Not surprising that folks are running out of gas.
  • #5
I was checking the news sources and at no time have I heard the Alberta provincial legislature declare a state of emergency -- I would have thought that a wildfire of this magnitude would call for this. Although in the news link in the first post, I did see that Alberta did make an official request for assistance yesterday night, and the federal government has committed to making all resources available.
  • #6

My friend gave me permission to post the pictures he took on his way out. Looks terrifying.
  • #7
He told me some people were stranded with no gas on the side of the road...

Wildfire Today said:
Some of them did not have enough fuel in their vehicles to get very far and became stranded on the side of the road. Authorities arranged for a fuel tanker truck to patrol the highways to assist the motorists.
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  • #8
I'm trying to get used to the idea of warm and dry up there. I'm much further south (1600 km SSW) and across the border, in the desert, and we've got rain at the moment.

From where did heat, dryness and winds come?

Given all the wildfires in populated areas, it seems there is a need for a fire suppression system (like a line of hydrants and storage tanks) at the border of towns and heavily forested areas.
  • #9
it seems there is a need for a fire suppression system

With the intensity of the fires and how quickly things changed I'm not sure anything would've made a difference. They were saying that there was no concern at 2pm, then the wind changed and by 4pm a full evac had been ordered.

What I think cities that are built in heavily wooded areas like Ft Mac should implement is everytime you build a new community part of the construction must include a fire break of some width. Also get away from vinyl siding and asphalt shingles, require hardy board and cement tile roofs. These might not stop a fire of this magnitude but would make it easier for the fire fighters to save houses.

I remember seeing a video on one of the California wildfires where an entire community was burnt down except a single house. This house was the only one built with fire resistant materials and as such was the only one they could save.
  • #10
I suspect we'll hear a lot in the coming weeks about planning for future disasters. A couple years ago when Calgary flooded everyone was talking about water diversion.

One of the issues that faces communities like Fort Mac is that it's a boom town. When the oilfields are booming, they can't build houses fast enough. Unfortunately community planning and enforcement of building codes are difficult under such circumstances.
  • #11
Imagine watching your own house burn down, on your security camera:

  • #12
Man, that thing is getting BIG !

View from space...

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