It’s a sombre anniversary in Fort McMurray, as the city gets ready to mark the 1st anniversary of a massive wildfire that destroyed 24-hundred buildings.
Craig Picton is the general manager of 620 CKRM’s sister Harvard Broadcasting radio stations in Fort Mac, and says there are still quite a few of the people evacuated who have not returned.
“I would say if we had 98-thousand people when the fire occurred, we are guessing there is no definitive number,” said Picton. “Probably about 70 to 75-thousand now. There are still a lot of vacancies. A lot of people didn’t come back.”
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However, Picton says one-year later, the recovery has made great strides.
“We’ve got a lot of things back in place,” said Picton. “Obviously still a lot of work to do. But areas where houses were burned down are now being rebuilt. It’s not an enviable task for the city because they have so much to get through.”
Picton says events Monday commemorating the fire will be discreet.
“We’ve got an event down at one of the parks today,” said Picton. “They are doing it away from the city so that people who are going to be emotionally affected by it, won’t have to deal with it.”
The blaze broke out a year ago Monday, and roared into Fort McMurray two days later.
It’s the costliest disaster in Canadian history.