Fort McMurray, Alberta Wildfire - May 2016

Largest Wildfire Evacuation in Canadian History

On May 3, 2016, at 5:00 pm MDT a large wildfire burning southwest of Fort McMurray resulted in the mandatory evacuation of 12 communities in the city's area.Later that evening, all of Fort McMurray was placed under a mandatory evacuation. Record-breaking temperatures, reaching 32.8 °C (91 °F), low relative humidity and strong winds contributed to the fire's rapid growth in forests affected by "an unusually dry and warm winter".

More than 100,000 residents of the city and surrounding region were evacuated. This was the largest recorded wildfire evacuation in Canadian history and the third-largest recorded environmental disaster evacuation.

About one-fifth of homes in the city were reported to be destroyed in the fire and it may become the costliest disaster in Canadian history.



An official cause of the fire has not been determined to date, but it is suspected to be human caused, starting in a remote area 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Fort McMurray

Burned out cars near the Beacon Hill neighborhood where 70% of the homes were destroyed.



The fire swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history

On May 4, the fire was found to be producing lightning and pyrocumulus clouds due to its heat and large size, which added to the risk of more fires. The fires became large enough to create a firestorm, creating its own weather.



A black bear scavenging at a scorched dumpster in the abandoned city.

At its peak, the fire moved at 30 to 40 metres per minute and created its own weather patterns.



All that is left of the Super 8 Motel and Denny's Restaurant.

The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) before it was declared to be under control on July 5, 2016.



Even a few days after the fire passed through, there was enough heat in the ground of the wooded areas that I managed to melt the soles of my boots!

88,000 people were successfully evacuated from the city, with no reported fatalities or injuries, but two people were killed in a car accident during the evacuation.


A completely burned SUV on the road out of town. It likely ran out of gas and was abandoned during the evacuation. I couldn't even tell what kind of car it was.