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In pictures: A return to Fort McMurray

On 3rd May, the entire 88,000-strong population of Fort McMurray was forced to evacuate as a wildfire like none before descended on the Canadian town. By the time the fire was classified as under control in early July, it had immolated close to 1.5 million acres of land, and destroyed 2,400 homes.

Two months after the fire swept through Fort McMurray, Susan Schulman returned to the town to survey the damage and meet the people who were faced with the task of rebuilding their lives from the ashes.

We published Schulman’s story and photos in issue #23 of Delayed Gratification. Here are some more pictures which we couldn’t squeeze onto the pages of the print magazine.


Peter Fortna sits on the front steps of the ruins of his home in Abasand, Fort McMurray on 9th July. The Abasand neighbourhood was largely obliterated in the fire, although sections remain standing as the capricious fire jumped and mysteriously spared them.


On 8th July, Blair and Stephanie Doucet returned to the debris of their family RV in Centennial Park, Fort McMurray. For Stephanie, it was the first time she saw the remains of their former home. Staring at the wreckage, she found this ceramic heart on the floor, broken in two pieces.


Chuck Salvatore wields a metal detector in hopes of finding something in the ruins of his home. Here he examines a metal disc, trying to see if it might be a coin from his collection, which was destroyed in the inferno. “The thing that really gets me are the heirlooms, the children’s first lock of hair, their drawings…” he says.


Broken items taken from the wreckage at Abasand, Fort McMurray.


Chief Darren Clarke and firefighter Aaron Morrison lean against a fire truck in Saprae Creek. A twenty minute drive from downtown Fort McMurray, Saprae Creek suffered badly from the fire, with 88 out of 255 homes destroyed. The community now feels neglected. They were not included in the evacuation orders and their firemen were battling the blaze in Fort McMurray while their own homes burned.

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