British Columbia

Fort McMurray fire: B.C. woman to drive donations to Alberta herself

A woman from Campbell River, B.C. is packing up her pickup truck with donations and plans to drive to Edmonton to help those fleeing the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Steff O'Neill and her husband used to live in Fort McMurray

Steff O'Neil plans to start her drive from Campbell River B.C., to Edmonton, Thursday night. (Steff O'Neill)

A woman from Campbell River, B.C. is packing up her truck with donations and plans to drive to Edmonton to help those fleeing the Fort McMurray wildfire.

"I'm collecting clothes and some food, lots of baby items…basically all the essentials that they need and taking it up there myself — just to make sure that they do get it," said Steff O'Neill.

Wildfires in northern Alberta have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Many have ended up in Edmonton.

Stories of the harrowing evacuations hit close to home for O'Neill and her husband, who used to live in Fort McMurray. They have many friends and family in the area.

"It hurts us incredibly to see them go through that," she said.

"It's all surreal. They didn't have a chance to grab basically anything out of their homes."

O'Neill set up a Facebook page to collect donations, and is packing her pickup truck full of clothes, hygiene products, towels, blankets, and more.

"I think we are about all taken care of for now — as much as I can fit in my truck."

The drive from Campbell River to Edmonton takes about 16 hours. 

Donate direct

The Canadian Red Cross says the best way for Canadians to ensure those affected by the wildfires receive the help they need most is to make a direct donatation

The organization has mobilized its highly-trained volunteers and has launched the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal to support their work.

With files from On The Island

Trees burn near a road in Fort McMurray, Alta. Experts say an increase in greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in dryer forests more susceptible to longer, more severe forest fires. (CAOS 91.1 Radio/Canadian Press)

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