Senator’s Statement on the Forest Fire in Fort McMurray
May 4, 2016

Over the past 24 hours, we have all been gripped by the news coming out of Fort McMurray, in northern Alberta.

The entire city of  80,000 people has been evacuated in the face of fire raging through a tinder dry forest. It’s the largest evacuation in the history of Alberta.

With as little as thirty minutes notice, people have fled to safety. Some are being housed at oil industry work camps to the north, while thousands have headed south to Edmonton. Everyone is now in need of basic essentials such as food, water and shelter.

The fire has already destroyed over 500homes and damaged countless others. There is great concern that the situation could grow worse.

Right now, firefighters, emergency workers, and forest fire crews are battling to save the city. Police are going door to door to ensure that everyone has been evacuated.

The challenges are overwhelming and the losses heartbreaking. And yet we are so thankful that no injuries or casualties have been reported at this time.

Colleagues, once again, in the face of this tragedy, we are seeing that Albertans and Canadians pull together to help and support one another in great times of need.

The response has been incredible. Great acts of charity are commonplace:

  • Last night, Twitter was overwhelmed with expressions of concern and support for the residents of Fort McMurray.
  • Hotels and oil and gas companies have provided rooms to house evacuees and first responders.
  • Oil and gas companies have cut production to ensure their employees get to safety.

Stories of people helping one another are commonplace: Fear and concern are palpable.

But this situation is far from over. High winds, high temperatures, low humidity and extremely dry conditions have created a very dangerous situation.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who is working so hard to ensure the safety of others, while putting themselves at risk. Your bravery, selflessness, and tireless efforts make us proud.

And to everyone who has been impacted by this fire, and are unsure of what tomorrow looks like, our hearts and prayers are with you. Be strong, and stay safe.