In a matter of hours, Fort McMurray—a bustling Alberta city of nearly 90,000 people—emptied out, bowing to an untamed wildfire sprawling quickly through the brush. Some people only had a few minutes before voluntary evacuation suggestions became urgent mandatory orders. And so what Fort McMurray residents grabbed before they filed purposefully out through the ash-flecked air was an emotional sign of what mattered most.
Albertans shared with Maclean’s the items they managed to leave with—and the items that were left behind. See the portraits of those items here.
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What they carried
Gren Ritter, 57
“The evacuation order came down late Tuesday, but I missed it and ended up staying in my apartment all night. So I got up in the morning, and it was crazy, everybody was gone. There was smoke everywhere. It was getting hard to breathe."