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Fear of ‘The Beast’ still lingers: Climate change and giant fire’s legacy make for unnerving times in Fort McMurray


One local says the oil and gas hub has been changed forever after being hit by two natural disasters in recent years: ‘If it happens again, I’m not coming back.’

Kellie Bosch was in her backyard drinking some wine when an ember of ash drifted into her glass.

That’s when she knew the fire of 2016 would be different.

Having lived in Fort McMurray , nestled in northern Alberta’s boreal forest, for some 10 years at that point, she was no stranger to wildfire season. It was a “wicked hot” May — but the flames had never flickered this close to town before. She could see the blaze on the horizon through her bedroom window.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been here a lot of years and I’ve never seen a fire this close.’ So I just kind of snapped into panic mode,” Bosch recalls of that day.

Within hours, she and her family would be fleeing for their lives after officials ordered a mandatory evacuation.It’s been six years since the massive fire known as The Beast tore through Canada’s largest oil and gas hub, causing the costliest natural disaster in this country’s history. It was four years later, in the midst […]

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