The May 2011 Wildfires

A story of regional crisis and recovery.

The dense forest throughout Lesser Slave River adds to our region's rugged mystique. However, our most abundant natural asset can also pose a very real danger to lives, homes and livelihoods when wind direction, moisture codes and other variables conspire. In the early afternoon of Sunday, May 15, 2011, conditions for disaster to strike could not have aligned with more devastating precision.

By now, most of us have heard about the Lesser Slave River wildfires; one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history. But the most important stories left to tell are those of communities working together to help one another. Of firefighters who drove hundreds of kilometers to join the fight. Of municipal neighbours who donated clothing, fresh water and other vital supplies in the blink of an eye. These are their stories.

Content for this section of our website has been gathered from many sources including media outlets, municipal workers on site, and in many cases ordinary individuals who rose to the task of helping their neighbours to safety. While their words, images and videos have been vital in helping us tell our story, we request that they remain on this site with the exception of reproduction for educational purposes.

A Chronicle of the May 2011 Wildfires

Disaster Timeline

Evacuation Efforts

Emergency Ops

The Aftermath

Stories from Those who Were There

We worked amongst so much devastation, but remembered our job at hand. It was eerie driving through town with so few people around to wave as we passed by, but the dedicated volunteers left their families...More
Vanessa Houston

It has been a long journey both personally and professionally. My heart breaks every day for my friends who have lost their homes and all their belongings. Our lives and community has changed forever...More
Kelly Adelman

Questions varied. "Where do I stay?" "When can I return to the MD?" "Is our house still standing?" "What are the underground services like?" "You'll have 10 semis with relief goods delivered tomorrow, where do you...More
Charlie MacDonald

MD of Lesser Slave River

Just a few hours due north of Edmonton, Lesser Slave River is a truly unique place to live, work and play. From breathtaking expanses of boreal forest and unspoiled natural wonders to a thriving economy and genuine work/life balance, opportunities abound. Here you'll discover a place of rugged beauty. A place of real people. A place you'll never want to leave.

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