Blaze That Ran Rampant Across Canadian City of Fort McMurray


NBC News World has reported that after thousands of evacuees fled their homes to escape a massive fire that burned their Canadian home city of Fort McMurray, the victims are being moved for a second time. As they were fleeing the area, the blaze doubled in size within 24 hours. The fire ran rampant across the Canadian city of Fort McMurray.

Officials stated that due to the uncontrollable blaze, 25,000 out of 80,000 people had to be relocated. As the fire crept in from the south, the victims were moved further to the north.

The Public Safety Minister of Canada, Ralph Goodale, declared earlier that the people in the camps to the north would be stranded and cut off if the blaze should suddenly turn to the northwest. Also, it could double in size if it continues to grow at the present pace. The Canadian fire continues to run rampant across Canada.

On Friday, May 13, 2016, 7,500 people were transported. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the military led a massive migration by land. Police stated the exodus included 1,500 vehicles. Crews said they hoped to finish relocating the last evacuees by the end of Saturday. However, RCMP Inspector Kevin Kutenski said that visibility was being blocked by over 30 feet of smoke, which created a challenge for drivers.

The blaze had a severe after-effect on Canada’s oil industry. The nation’s oil interests have already been suffering from the large decrease in the price of oil.

CBC News stated the deadly fire’s effects will not end after the last flame burns out. Research that has been done in California shows that toxic heavy metal and ash endures beyond the initial disaster. A fire scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, Scott Stephens, said there is no doubt that what the fire leaves behind is hazardous. Stephens also stated that California has had bad experiences with wildfires raging through its cities. The state loses homes from fires that begin in the woods.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) discovered the ash that was left after the wildfires in California during the 2007 and 2008 summers was much more alkaline than other ash from wood fires. When the ash is mixed with water, it will become a strong chemical comparable to oven cleaner.

“Financial Post” reported the wildfire is the largest in the history of the province of Fort McMurray. Moody Investors Service stated it is going to leave behind the largest amount of damage in the last 20 years for investors in Canada.

The blaze has already spread through hundreds of buildings. It is likely going to cause damage to earnings at AIG Insurance Company of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, which is one of the country’s major casualty and property insurers. However, the rating agency does not expect it to become a major credit or capital event for the firms.

The lead analyst on the Moody report, Jason Mercer, stated TD Bank owns a third of its insurance business written in Alberta. His report was released on May 6, 2016.

According to the report, approximately 1,600 buildings were entirely scorched because of the Fort McMurray wildfire that began on May 5. The total damage was four times the loss of the May 2011 Slave Lake wildfire in Alberta, which cost over $700 million.

The Moody analyst reported the total sum of destruction could multiply beyond that of the Slave Lake disaster. The wildfire affected both personal and commercial property, making the blaze, which ran rampant across the Canadian city, one of the largest disasters in Canadian history.

By John A. Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne


NBC News World: Fort McMurray Wildfire: Evacuees Relocated as ‘Absolutely Vicious Fire’ Burns Uncontrollably
CBC News: Fort McMurray wildfire will leave toxic legacy, experts say
Financial Post: Fort McMurray wildfire will leave toxic legacy, experts say

Featured Image Courtesy of Kevin Spencer’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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