Fort McMurray flooding a 'bad dream' after wildfire
'It's just not our year,' city councillor says after flooding damages homes that escaped wildfire
People in Fort McMurray are taking stock of water damage after torrential rain flooded parts of the city over the weekend, including some areas that escaped devastation from the wildfire that forced tens of thousands out of the northern Alberta community in May.
Rising water prompted the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to reopen its emergency operations centre for the first time since the wildfire, which has come to be known as the Beast.
It's a bad dream . . . I think I'm in a bit of a denial state. How can this happen? How can so much happen within the span of three months?- Keith McGrath, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo councillor
City crews in drainage trucks pumped water out of those neighbourhoods on the weekend, even as it trickled into basements and forced road closures.
"It's a bad dream," said city Coun. Keith McGrath. "I think I'm in a bit of a denial state. How can this happen? How can so much happen within the span of three months?"
McGrath said the flooding is a further drain on Fort McMurray, which reopened to wildfire evacuees in June.
Even though the physical damage appears manageable, he said, the emotional toll is high.
"It's an upsetting time for a lot of people," he said. "When do we get a break?
"It just seems like it never ends for us ... It's just not our year."
McGrath said the full extent of damage won't be known until the floodwaters turn to puddles.
"All you can do is be strong for each other, but it gets old," he said.
"We won't give up."
Water began to recede Sunday evening. Even still, fire crews stood by to wade into any rescue efforts.
But their boots stayed dry, said Brad Grainger, the fire department's deputy chief of operations.
Grainger said it was a relief for firefighters, who had assembled quickly at the hint of another possible natural disaster.
"We just went through the largest disaster in Canadian history, so I think we're OK for a couple of years. It's somebody else's turn."