One year ago this week, the Wood Buffalo wildfire swept into Fort McMurray. 100 thousand people were evacuated. Over 2000 structures were lost to the fire including the home of my friend, pro-oil sands activist, Robbie Picard.
I caught up with Robbie via skype this week and asked him what was the hardest part of the anniversary of the fire, and he revealed something shocking to me. He told me he watched the fire burn near his home for 2 days before he was given 20 minutes to evacuate.
Where were the water bombers to take care of the fire when it was something smaller than the beast that it turned into?
They weren’t working. Flight logs obtained by the Wildrose party show there were only 2 water bombers in the air fighting the Wood Buffalo fire on the day before the fire breached the city of Fort McMurray -cut in half from the 4 that were in the air the day before.
May 3, 2016, the day Wildrose Leader Brian Jean’s Fort Mac house burned down, he was in the legislature asking the government for more resources to fight the fire. Rachel Notley called him a fear monger and told him all the resources the city needed were already in place. .
We now know that meant only 2 air tankers on the day the fire doubled in size.