Fort McMurray family searches for what’s next after escaping a firestorm

, Economic

Steven Auty's house on May 3, 2016 at 10pm local time

For Steven Auty, his family and two dogs, the overnight escape from a burning Fort McMurray was through a firestorm, on a jammed highway where all lanes were heading south, then complicated by an empty gasoline tank somewhere in Alberta’s sparsely populated north.

The family eventually found fuel for their truck and shelter in a work camp at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.

Auty counted his blessings, though he was unsure what would come next.

“We have food for a day,” he said in a phone interview while walking his dogs Wednesday, as his exhausted wife rested, and his daughter and her boyfriend, both oilsands workers, continued the trek south. “We have enough fuel to head to Edmonton or (the hamlet of) Lac La Biche. I am not sure what my options are.”

A recently retired Syncrude Canada Ltd. employee, Auty, 62, had spent the previous day watching smoke and flames quickly approach Fort McMurry, burning down familiar buildings.

Sirens were screaming at people in some communities to get out. Police were going door to door. Buildings were engulfed in flames, as were the banks of the Athabasca River.

Courtesy of Steve Auty


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