As the fires raged on in southern Alberta, firefighters had to put up with a lot of things.
One was the constant noise of smoke and flames.
As the days went on, it became less and less of an issue.
“When the fire was going up in the mountains, we’d have a bit of a noise problem, so we’d turn the engine off and go outside,” said fire chief Mike Reitz.
“I was pretty fortunate that the fire alarm went off, and I was able to get in there and see what was going on, and it wasn’t like I had to run up to the house and start banging on the door to get somebody out.”
But it didn’t last.
By March 31, the fire had grown to over 50,000 hectares and spread through the province.
“There were days that I was just out of breath trying to keep up with the fires,” said Reitz, who now manages the Fort McMurray Regional Municipality.
“We were just looking out of the window and wondering, ‘What the hell is happening?’ “
And then it hit us, ‘Oh, man, we need to go back to the streets,'” said Reutz. “
We were just looking out of the window and wondering, ‘What the hell is happening?’
And then it hit us, ‘Oh, man, we need to go back to the streets,'” said Reutz.
“And I said, ‘I have to do something, we have to go to the street.'”‘
This is a challenge that I’ve never experienced before’ At first, firefighters were surprised to learn how much they had to do to keep the fires from spreading.
“As the fires were spreading, there were so many people out there,” said Dave LeCroy, who is the fire chief in Fort McMourray.
“A lot of people were evacuating, and so were trucks.
It was really stressful, so I had a little bit of trouble adjusting.”
He said that when he arrived at work, there was no smoke alarms and no smoke detectors.
He was worried that if the fire spread out into the city, it would spread into the streets, causing panic.
“So when I went out there to put the fire out, there’s a little little fire truck and a little fire engine there and they were going back and forth to put it out,” said LeCray.
Reitz said that the problem with having a large fire, which would spread quickly, was that it took a lot more work to put out a smaller one.
“If we’re just putting it out on the street, we’re probably putting it on the ground, but that’s a huge fire,” he said.
“This is not a situation that I have ever experienced before, so you’ve got no control over what’s going on in the city and the flames.”
The first day of work The city of Fort McMorray was on lockdown at the start of March, when the fire broke out.
People were told to stay at home and to keep windows and doors closed.
“You just have to get used to the idea of having the door locked,” said Ken Gagnon, who worked at the city of Calgary’s fire department.
“The fire department was working all day, every day, to try to get people out of their homes.”
The fire department has been running a two-week-old operation to help people stay safe.
“They were working with the community to get everybody out,” Gagnone said.
The city had already started to prepare for the fires, including offering free food, water and clothing.
“Everyone has their own food,” said Gagnón.
We said, we want to get everyone in, get everybody in a place where they can stay safe and get the supplies that they need.” “
Everybody in the fire department, from the first day we got out, we were talking to residents.
We said, we want to get everyone in, get everybody in a place where they can stay safe and get the supplies that they need.”
The city was expecting to have up to 50,00 residents, but had to turn them away because of overcrowding.
But firefighters and volunteers from other communities stepped in to help, and quickly began to bring in supplies.
By the end of March it was estimated that over 80,000 people had been displaced.
“People were already running out of food and water,” said John Beaudoin, a firefighter from the city’s emergency operations.
“At one point we had to get some supplies in from our neighbourhood because we couldn’t get in.”
Beaudoitin said that while the fires did not pose a danger to the community, he was concerned about the way in which the fires spread.
“These are things that we’ve seen happen over the years in other communities in the country, where we’ve had a lot fires, people get really upset and run out and we’re