86 Per Cent Of Properties Rebuilt Five Years Since Wildfire

Five years ago, thousands of Fort McMurray residents were forced from their homes as the ‘Beast’ ravaged through the community.

In total, around 88,000 people were evacuated with the Horse River wildfire destroying nearly 2,600 properties becoming the country’s costliest natural disaster.

In the years since, approximately 86 per cent of homes, businesses, and other structures have been rebuilt.

Speaking to reporters, Mayor Don Scott says there’s still a chance we continue to see this number rise.

“Some people are still in insurance claims and that can obviously take a considerable period… I’ve still heard of cases ongoing from the fire so that’s one issue. Other people are holding lots for other reasons, maybe they’re just not ready to rebuild.”

Scott adds the 86 per cent rebuilt rate is already higher when compared to other communities which experienced natural disasters.

Meanwhile, the municipality continues to take measures to help limit the risk of a similar event ever happening.

Through FireSmart, they’ve continued to use controlled burns to remove potential fuel for wildfires, created buffers between homes and the boreal forest, and more.

Fire Chief Jody Butz says there will always be a risk of wildfires, however, the work they’ve done has helped limit it.

“I can say with certainty that all the work that we’ve done in the past five years, through FireSmart, has reduced the impact of wildfires to our communities.”

Residents also need to play their part in preventing wildfires.

According to the RMWB, there have been 128 human-caused wildfires in the Fort McMurray Forest Area over the past five years.

Some tips to avoid blazes include making sure your campfire is out by soaking it multiple times, clearing muskeg from all off-highway-vehicle exhausts, and throwing cigarettes in proper disposal units.

More from 100.5 Cruz FM