Knowledge-Exchange Forum Looks At Post Wildfire Impact, Cause And Recovery

A forum was held over the weekend to discuss the impact the Horse River Wildfire had on the RMWB.

Seven research teams received funds shortly after the wildfire in 2016 by the Canadian Institute of Health Research – looking at the impact, cause and recovery.

On Friday and Saturday, those groups came together at MacDonald Island Park to discuss their findings.

Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta Stephanie Montesanti tells Mix News the focus was to share post-wildfire information with members of the community.

“It’s about including them in the research process from the very beginning so that we are asking the right questions. And it’s about working with them so we can identify how to best support the community in the healing process.”

Research teams included U of A, the McMurray Metis Local 1935, and the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation.

Montesanti adds they also hope to minimize the impact on rural communities in the event of future disasters.

“Can’t forget that many of those communities outside Fort McMurray served as host communities and took in a number of evacuees. And that puts a lot of strain on those areas in terms of their capacity to even take in those evacuees.”

Montesanti notes this research will help people better understand how we can respond going forward.

“We can’t do this alone,” Montesanti said. “It does take a village and we do need to think about that collective impact and when we’re looking at natural disasters and how we respond, it is about that collective impact – it’s about bringing together those key stakeholders and players in the community to respond.”

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