Edmonton

Fort McMurray fire 'eerie sense of déjà vu,' says Slave Lake mayor

It's an "eerie sense of déjà vu" for Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman. He, along with a crew of nine people and three trucks are in Fort McMurray to help fight the wildfire which led to an evacuation order for the entire city.

'The road after is an even longer, tougher one,' said Tyler Warman, mayor of Slave Lake

The Slave Lake Town Hall building following a wildfire on May 15, 2011, that destroyed a third of the community. (Wikipedia Commons)

The mayor of Slave Lake has a crew of nine people and three trucks in Fort McMurray to help fight the wildfire which led to an evacuation order for the entire city.

Mayor Tyler Warman describes the situation as an "eerie sense of déjà vu."

It's also an opportunity to pay back people in the community for the help they extended to Slave Lake when it was devastated by a wildfire in May 2011.

"Mother Nature comes up with a plan and we do our best to try and change that, and sometimes you're successful and sometimes you're not," Warman said Wednesday.

His thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have had to leave, and may have lost their homes. But Warman advises them to consider the fact they are safe and their families are safe.

"You lose a lot of stuff that's worth a lot to you but it can all be replaced," Warman said.

Five years ago a wildfire destroyed a third of Slave lake with a total of 374 properties levelled and 52 others damaged.

'You lose a lot of stuff that's worth a lot to you but it can all be replaced,' the mayor of Slave Lake says as a fire burns in Fort McMurray. (Courtesy Michael Leonard)

Insured damages totalled around $700 million, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada stated at the time that it was the second costliest disaster in Canadian history.

At the time, Warman couldn't fathom the community would be where it is today, describing Slave Lake as strong.

Support key to recovery

He credits its recovery to support from people within the community itself, across Alberta and the country, and from the provincial and federal governments.

"You're seeing that same sentiment in people for Fort McMurray and I hope it carries through because they're going to need all the help that we can give them," he said.

Warman and his crew were helping fight the fire yesterday, and through the night, and are back at it again today.

The wildfire continues to be the main focus but, in future "the road after is an even longer, tougher one", he said.

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