Alberta is experiencing some of the worst wildfires Canada has ever seen, the size and intensity of which are hard to comprehend.
The city of Fort McMurray has been utterly devastated by the fires, which have grown to cover over 100,000 hectares (roughly the size of 195,000 football fields, or, for those familiar with the expanse of Toronto, about this big), with entire neighbourhoods having been razed and the entire population of 121,000 (permanent as well as temporary residents working in the oil sector) under order of evacuation.
But out of every disaster, out of such trials and calamities, comes stories of magnificent human compassion. Here are three from the fires of Fort Mac.
It’s a heartwarming story with an ironic twist—Syrian refugees, many of whom fled a firestorm of their own in cities like Damascus and Aleppo, are literally giving the shirts off their backs to those displaced by the fires in Alberta.
In a similar vein, the residents of Quebec’s 5,900-person-strong Lac-Mégantic (which was on the receiving end of its own disaster in 2013) are making a town-wide donation to help victims.
And it’s not just groups of people or towns getting into the act: private companies like Labatt, too, have answered the bell. In Labatt’s case, they’ve managed to send 200,000 cans of water to the disaster zone to quench the thirst of firefighters and evacuees.
Other heartwarming stories have also emerged from the wreckage of Fort McMurray, such as a school principal commandeering a school bus to help evacuate students. Or the mother who was fleeing the fires only to give birth to a healthy baby boy shortly after her evacuation.
The federal government recently announced it will match all donations to the Canadian Red Cross, and as of Friday afternoon, upwards of $30M had been donated by Canadians. MediaMiser itself has donated $1,000 to relief efforts on behalf of the company, along with individual donations by staff, and we encourage other companies and individuals to do the same.
If you’d like to help, please visit the Canadian Red Cross donation portal for the Alberta fires.
Co-written by Jim Donnelly.