Evacuated residents have started to return home to Fort McMurray this week after being away for a close to a month after leaving to escape the Alberta wildfires in the early part of May. The evacuees were being welcomed back by firefighters and first responders, signs entering the city, and of course their first look at their houses, apartments or condos.
Most people had an overwhelming response to returning to their homes and thinking about how great it was going to be sleeping in their own bed for the first time in a long time. Some retuned to find everything exactly as they had left it the day they evacuated. Other’s returned to smoke filled homes, rotted garbage, soot covered floors and furniture, and lawns that seriously need to be cut. Some stories of houses being looted have been reported. Other parts of the city where houses are still standing have had them condemned as unsafe and then of course there is the completely destroyed burnt out area of the city where residents won’t be able to return to rebuild for some time.
It will take years to rebuild Fort McMurray to where it was before the wild-fire, but even as we head into this weekend, people are already cleaning up, stocking up, and most likely in a few short weeks, things will slowly start to be functioning in their local economy and the larger scale rebuilding can begin.