Municipal leaders from across Canada today paid tribute to municipal leaders, first responders, and residents affected by the wildfire that engulfed the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Alberta, including the community of Fort McMurray. A special tribute was held during the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference in Winnipeg.
"Like all Canadians, I was shocked by the images of devastation that emerged as the fire swept through Fort McMurray," said FCM President Raymond Louie. "But I was so impressed by the immense courage of first-responders, the extraordinary leadership of local leaders, and the outstanding support from neighbouring municipalities and Canadians from coast, to coast, to coast."
The Fort McMurray wildfire burned more than 400,000 hectares, destroyed 2,400 buildings, and forced the largest evacuation in Alberta' history. However, it also spurred community spirit and an outpouring of generosity from Canadians, and municipal leaders from coast to coast to coast who reached out to help their fellow-Canadians and municipal colleagues in need.
During the ceremony, FCM President Raymond Louie applauded the leadership of Wood Buffalo Regional Council, including Mayor Mellisa Blake. Councillor Allan Vinni was on hand to receive this public acknowledgement. As well, President Louie commended all neighbouring municipalities who stepped up to welcome displaced residents, provided goods and services, and opened up their facilities to assist. Mayor Omer Moghrabi of County Lac LaBiche and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson were publically thanked for their tremendous and continued show of support.
"The municipal sector banded together to support one of its own, and the generosity and leadership of community leaders remains as the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo undertakes the formidable task of rebuilding," said FCM President Louie.
FCM members will continue to support the Wood Buffalo community in the months and years to come as efforts now shift to rebuilding the community. Canadians are asked to make donations to the relief and recovery efforts through the Canadian Red Cross.