Home in Fort McMurray

To the humans of Fort McMurray

Jennifer Quist

firebreakwinter Little boys in a Fort McMurray “fire break,” winter 2002

Six months pregnant with my third son, I moved my family to Fort McMurray. My husband went along with it, then fell hard for it. We stayed for five years, had two sons there, bought our first two homes, planted trees, built a backyard fence to rival Stonehenge. Living in the city—in the place, not just at the time–changed our lives. In many ways, it made our lives—mine as a writer and my husband’s as a crime fighter. Today, I sat at a safe distance of hundreds of kilometres and cried at the news coverage of Fort McMurray in flames.

I have never done anything like what today’s Fort McMurray residents have done. I have never been a refugee. My experiences with forest fire are nothing compared to theirs.

Most years, “forest fire” in the boreal north isn’t so much…

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