In early May 2016, a wildfire tore through Fort McMurray, Alberta, destroying neighborhoods and threatening an entire community. More than 80,000 people fled through smoke and fire to reach safety.
In the largest wildfire evacuation in the province’s history, many residents left with almost nothing and some with nowhere to go. After weeks away from their homes, thousands of evacuated people now face the daunting task of rebuilding both their lives and their community.
Red Cross response
Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from across Canada and around the world, the Canadian Red Cross is providing vital assistance to the people of Fort McMurray. Since the onset of the wildfire, more than 1,600 volunteers and staff have supported a major disaster response.
- Registration of evacuees so they can receive ongoing support
- Cots and blankets to support evacuation shelters in Edmonton, Calgary and Lac La Biche
- Cash cards and vouchers to help people meet their essential needs, such as food, water, clothing and gas
- Help reuniting families that were separated during the disaster
- Comfort and care to those suffering from emotional stress
- Emergency financial assistance to help evacuated people meet their immediate needs
Return to Fort McMurray
- Transportation (flights & buses) to Alberta and back to Fort McMurray
- Emergency financial assistance to help returning residents purchase essential household goods
- Cleaning and ‘after fire’ kits for damaged households, containing items like work gloves, home and laundry odor neutralizers and safety glasses
- Hygiene kits containing items like deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo
- Continued comfort and care to those suffering emotional trauma of returning back to a devastated community
- Additional safety and well-being services, including information, referrals, outreach to vulnerable people and groups
Moving forward, the Red Cross continues to support impacted individuals and families and is committed to helping them recover from these devastating fires over the months and years ahead. This includes financial support for community rebuilding initiatives.
News from Alberta
May 21: Evacuated twice but spirits still high
May 14: “They’re so helpful, it’s just crazy” – Alberta fire evacuees share experience
May 11: Canadian Red Cross to give Alberta fire evacuees $50 million in immediate financial assistance
May 04: Canadian Red Cross responds to fires in Alberta
Canadian Red Cross is committed to providing information on our operations and on how donations are being spent. As our work in Alberta continues, regular donor updates will be made available here.