Wildfire Evacuation Background
On 1 May 2016, a wildfire started just south of the town of Fort McMurray, Canada. Fort McMurray is home to multiple natural resource companies who operate oil sands facilities. On 3 May, with the fire now completely out of control, Canadian authorities ordered the immediate and total evacuation of Fort McMurray’s 80,000+ residents, the largest evacuation in Canadian history. Complicating the evacuation was the lack of time, the shutdown of the commercial airport, the intermittent closure of the only highway going south caused by the rapidly changing direction of the fire, and the people evacuating through burning areas.