By Maria Church
May 4, 2016 - The scale of the raging Fort McMurray wildfire – 80,000 residents evacuated and already hundreds of homes destroyed – is a first for the province of Alberta, but the circumstances are not.
In 2011, Slave Lake, Alta., experienced the devastation of a wildfire that decimated the town. On May 14, more than 10,000 people were forced to leave and 480 homes were destroyed. Lesser Slave Regional Fire Chief Jamie Coutts shared best practices following the fire with Fire Fighting in Canada in the story: Slave Lake firestorm.
Two years earlier Fire Fighting in Canada ran a cover story about unified command during the 2009 wildfire season in British Columbia, and lessons learned from a 2003 wildfire in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park that resulted in the evacuation of 27,000 residents, levelled 239 homes and killed three firefighters.
In 2010, British Columbia continued efforts to mitigate wildfires through modified response and fuel management.
*With files from the Canadian Press