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Canadians Helping People Of Fort McMurray

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2016 Fort McMurray wildfire
2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. Image: Jason Woodhead

Many people across Canada are helping the residents of Fort McMurray.

There have been many stories of courage and compassion towards the city and the people who come from there.

On May 1, a wildfire started in a forest near the Alberta town of Fort McMurray. Within two days, the fire grew larger and the people who lived in Fort McMurray had to leave their homes.

While there have been very few residents injured by the enormous fire itself, it has been devastating to the community.

Canadians in other regions have been helping by sending money and donations to the Red Cross, an organization that helps people in emergency situations. Many people in Alberta have taken in people from Fort McMurray, letting them stay rent-free in their home until the fire is put out.

Many firefighters are needed to battle the blaze and some of them have come from other parts of Canada to help. The brave firefighters were able to save 25,000 homes as well as the hospital and all of the town’s schools, according to CBC News.

There have been thousands of other acts of kindness towards the people of Fort McMurray. Some Syrian refugees, now living in Canada, donated some of their money to buy supplies for the people of Fort McMurray because, Rita Khanchet told Macleans magazine, they received help when she needed it and they wanted to return the favour.

View of the wildfire from highway 63 as people were leaving Fort McMurray. Image: DarrenRD
View of the wildfire from highway 63 as people were leaving Fort McMurray. Image: DarrenRD

Some musicians, such as Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle, are holding special concerts, with the money going to Fort McMurray residents.

And companies have been helping, as well. Beer-maker Labatt filled thousands of cans with water–instead of beer–and sent them to the people in Fort McMurray.labatt-water

WestJet Airlines donated $25,000 to the Red Cross, and it used some of its planes to bring supplies to Fort McMurray.

Students across Canada have been creating supportive videos and writing supportive letters to the people of Fort McMurray, as well as holding fundraising events.

More than $67 million has been donated to the Red Cross for the families of the people who had to flee Fort McMurray. Each adult will receive $600 from the Red Cross and $1,250 from the government of Alberta plus additional money for children, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. People can use that money to pay for a place to live until the fire is put out, as well as to buy food and clothing.

The fire is huge, spreading over more than 229,000 hectares, but firefighters say they believe they are starting to get it under control–it is becoming smaller instead of spreading.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The wildfire spread incredibly quickly and people had to leave their homes with little warning. They often only had a few minutes to pack a couple belongings before they left.

If you were in their situation, what precious few belongings would you make sure you took with you? Why did you choose these items?

Reading Prompt: Comprehension Strategies
A key comprehension strategy in reading is asking questions. This article provides a tremendous amount of information about the situation in Fort McMurray. However, you likely still have questions. What questions do you still have and how can you find the answers to them?

Junior
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Intermediate
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Language Feature: Adjectives
The people from Fort McMurray are currently living through a devastating situation. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and use adjectives to describe how they may have felt when they found out they had to evacuate their home, when they left Fort McMurray, when they see photographs of their city, when they think about the support they are receiving, when they think about their future?