Edmonton

Fort McMurray's wildfire babies reunite for 3rd anniversary photo

The Fort McMurray fire babies met up again to take a photo commemorating the third anniversary of the fire that swept through the community in 2016.

'I wanted my daughter to be connected with other people who were going through the same thing'

The Fort McMurray 'fire babies' met for the third anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire on Friday. The children were promised cake in order to pose for a group photo. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The Fort McMurray 'fire babies' reunited to take a photo commemorating the anniversary of the devastating fire that swept through the community three years ago. 

The group took its first photo in 2016, with more than 40 mothers and fathers —and their infants — attending. 

Some of the babies were born within days of Fort McMurray's evacuation and some were conceived while their parents were scattered across Canada. 

Kimberley Matchem set up the meeting for the third anniversary.

She was worried there wouldn't be much of a turnout for this year's photo, because she's tried to set up events for the group in the past and they weren't well attended. 

The fire babies played together in the preschool before posing for a photo. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

On Friday about 10 moms and their babies showed up for the photo.

"I wanted my daughter to be connected with other people who were going through the same thing," said Matchem, who was eight months pregnant when Fort McMurray had to evacuate. 

Matchem said many of the kids are friends and they go to the Early Start Learning Centre preschool, where Matchem works. She said her boss is also the mother of a fire baby.

Matchem said she tried to explain the fire to her daughter, but she's still a little too young. She has keepsakes from the fire to share with her daughter Tenley when she's old enough.

"I kept a whole bunch of things about the fire, like magazines, some of the [canned] water, memorabilia and stuff that I'll show her when she gets older to understand things that we went through."

Kimberley Matchem and her daughter Tenley. Matchem says she's tried to tell her daughter about the fire, but she's still a little too young. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The kids played with each other in the preschool before sitting down for the photo. 

The parents sang happy birthday to the fire babies and snapped a few photos.

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