Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire:
“On this day in 2016, Albertans watched in horror as Fort McMurray was engulfed by a wildfire of apocalyptic proportions. With staggering speed, a small wildfire on the banks of Horse River quickly evolved into the ‘Beast,’ which pounced on the city shortly thereafter.
“Yet through a haze of smoke and flame, Albertans witnessed a miracle. Along a single highway, the flames beating at their backs, almost 90,000 people escaped the city. The incredible heroism of our first responders saved Fort McMurray’s vital infrastructure and thousands of lives.
“One year later, the difficult task of rebuilding continues. We must remember, however, that we need to rebuild more than homes and infrastructure – we must also work to rebuild the mental health and well-being of the residents of Fort McMurray.
“The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can surface suddenly or emerge long after the trauma has occurred. Today, many continue to struggle with the aftereffects of the fire.
“Albertans are strong, but the strong also suffer. It is not weakness to struggle with mental health; rather, it takes great courage to ask for help managing that struggle.
“I want to remind those who are still suffering from the devastating effects of the wildfire in Fort McMurray that they are not alone. I stand with you together with all your fellow Albertans.”