Evacuees from Fort McMurray find it difficult to return
Wednesday marks one year since the wildfire devastated Fort McMurray and the community is coming along the road to healing, but the scars will always remain among the thousands of evacuees.
Hundreds of the early evacuees came to Calgary and were housed at Mount Royal University.
For some families, the tragic circumstances of the wildfire have made it difficult to return to the community.
Ahmed Dawud and his family had to escape from the wildfires and have since decided not to return.
His family only had the clothes on their back when they left; their home and business both destroyed.
Dawud now runs a shop in Calgary, but says the memories from a year ago are tough to forget.
“We were in a panic. Fire was on the right of us; fire was on the left of us. We didn’t think we were going to make it.”
Dawud now says he is focusing on giving back to the city that welcomed his family with open arms.
Another Fort McMurray resident was also happy with the great treatment she received in Calgary after she escaped the flames.
Helen Corre Zara, the housekeeping supervisor at the Nomad Hotel in downtown Fort McMurray, said workers in Calgary helped her and her employees get accomodation in the city.
She says they were also treated to a number of outings in Calgary, including a night out at the National on 10th.
"It was the feeling of being an evacuee at this time, for me, I just totally forgot. I just totally enjoyed bowling," she said. "I got a high score; not the high score, but I love bowling and it was a good feeling, very uplifting."
There were at least 2,500 Fort McMurray evacuees housed and helped in Calgary and even more people came to stay with family and friends.
While there is no firm number on how many residents stayed in the city for good, statistics show that Fort McMurray’s population has dropped by 12,000 since the wildfires.