2016 Fort McMurray Wildfires

On May 1, 2016 a wildfire swept the southwest area of Fort McMurray, Alberta. In just 48 hours, the wildfire spread through the community, forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in the province’s history.


The wildfire destroyed approximately 2,400 homes and buildings. More than 2,000 residents in three communities were displaced after their homes were declared unsafe for reoccupation due to contamination. The wildfire continued through Wood Buffalo to spread across the border into Saskatchewan. The 2016 wildfires are considered to be the costliest disaster in Canadian history.


It is estimated that the insured damages reached $3.5 billion while the direct and indirect costs reached $9.5 billion.

The provincial state of emergency lasted from May 1st to July 1st, 2016, and the wildfire is still burning to this date.


Work Loss due to Wildfires

As a result to the wildfires that affected Wood Buffalo, some employed people living in Alberta lost work hours, while others put in extra hours between May and June, 2016.
Source: Statcan


In Fort McMurray area, 80% of the population reported a work loss. More than 8.5 million hours were lost over a two-month period – while 870,000 additional hours were worked, with the net effect loss of 7.6 million hours.


Due to the wildfires, the rest of Alberta lost more than 3 million hours with the largest losses affecting the natural resource industries*.

For more information on the work loss in Wood Buffalo due to the wildfires, visit Statistics Canada report.

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