back to top

Here’s What Fort Mac Looks Like As Residents Return To Their Homes

Parts of the city were destroyed by wildfires on May 3.

Posted on

The first wave of residents evacuated from Fort McMurray, Alberta, were allowed to return home Wednesday and begin the cleanup process after wildfires destroyed parts of the city last month.

Mike Maloney and his wife Tessa Maloney, hug as they unpack to re-enter their home.
Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Mike Maloney and his wife Tessa Maloney, hug as they unpack to re-enter their home.

And while people are definitely excited to see their homes again — including this little hedgie — it's a bittersweet day.

Instagram: @h3connections

The first thing returning residents saw was this salute from firefighters over Highway 63, the same highway cars had fled down on May 3 when the mandatory evacuation notice came in.

Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

While there's a ton of help on the ground, from insurance adjustors, to workers handing out cleaning supplies, to utility workers...

Instagram: @sitharaf

It's still an incredibly emotional day for people who haven't seen their homes since the day they left.

James Turingan, left, and Russell Boston survey the damage to their home.
Codie Mclachlan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

James Turingan, left, and Russell Boston survey the damage to their home.

With about 10% of homes lost, familiar neighbourhood sights are now piles of rubble.

A police helicopter flies past a burned-out house in Fort McMurray.
Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

A police helicopter flies past a burned-out house in Fort McMurray.

In some neighbourhoods, cars and homes completely destroyed by the fire are right next to places that look totally untouched.

A burned-out car and boat sit in a yard as residents look around their house as they re-enter their home.
Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

A burned-out car and boat sit in a yard as residents look around their house as they re-enter their home.

But even for homes that were spared the worst, there's still ash to scrub away.

Pilar Ramirez cleans her home after returning to Fort McMurray.
Codie Mclachlan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Pilar Ramirez cleans her home after returning to Fort McMurray.

And fridges left sitting around for almost a month that now need a deep, deep clean.

Instagram: @cquarterman

Or just need to be thrown out.

Adam Hussynec, left, and Cody Burthell remove a fridge as they re-enter their home.
Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Adam Hussynec, left, and Cody Burthell remove a fridge as they re-enter their home.

Others didn't waste any time in breaking out their lawn mowers.

Roy Hann mows his lawn after returning to the city.
Codie Mclachlan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Roy Hann mows his lawn after returning to the city.

But even if things have changed, many people — and pups — are just excited to be back.

Instagram: @realtyfortmcmurray