NEWS

Fort McMurray Fires: Pets Evacuated By Kind-Hearted Pilot

10/05/2016 16:19

The devastation caused by the ferocious Fort McMurray blaze has seen more than 88,000 people evacuated from the Canadian city.

Almost 2,500 homes and buildings have been destroyed and the blaze has been described by the city’s fire chief as a “beast… a fire like I’ve never seen in my life.”

But while the devastation continues to be assessed, a small army of kind-hearted folk are helping those who were left behind – pets.

Keith Mann

Evacuees who were forced to leave the city without their faithful friends have been prevented from reentering for safety reasons - which is where animal rescue centres have been stepping in.

Peace officers from the Alberta SPCA and the Calgary Human Society have been working tirelessly with Wood Buffalo Animal Control Services to retrieve pets ranging from cats and dogs to snakes, gerbils and guinea pigs.

Keith Mann

Truckloads of retrieved animals have been transported to nearby Edmondton where they are being cared for before they are reunited with their owners, CBC News reports.

And one man has gone the extra mile to pitch in – by personally flying some critters from rescue zones north of the fires to the Edmonton centre.

Keith Mann

Pilot Keith Mann loaded his plane with 40 of the four-legged friends in a mercy mission bound to warm hearts.

Mann, who is manager of flight operations for Suncor Energy, and has already been flying human evacuees between rescue camps told The Star: “We’re all animal lovers here. We knew it was important for owners to re-connect with them."

Keith Mann

Normally animals are supposed to be secured in kennels in the hold, but in this case Mann made a special exception for his precious cargo of cats, dogs, rabbits, hedgehogs and chinchillas.

And it sounds like his passengers were well-behaved, with Mann reporting a “pretty quiet” flight, adding: “You could just tell everyone was so happy to be out of camp and on their way.”

Keith Mann

The bulk of the city's evacuees moved south after a mandatory evacuation order, but 25,000 went north and were housed in camps normally used for oil sands workers until they also could be evacuated south.

City officials say 85 to 90 per cent of the city remains intact, including the downtown district and a plan to allow most of the evacuees home will be finalised within a fortnight.

On Tuesday Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the fire continues to grow outside the city and now is about 790 square miles (2,020 square kilometers) in size.

  • Katie Daubs via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 9: Wildfire devastation as shown from a media tour. (Katie Daubs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
  • Katie Daubs via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 9: Wildfire devastation as shown from a media tour. (Katie Daubs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Charred vehicles and homes are pictured in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town. Fort McMurray is still 90-percent intact despite a week of damage from the wildfires devastating Canada's oil sands region, Alberta's premier said after touring the deserted city on Monday. Firefighters warned however that the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the western oil city would not be able to return for at least two weeks. / AFP / POOL / CHRIS WATTIE (Photo credit should read CHRIS WATTIE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Bicycles are pictured amongst the remains of burned homes in the Abasand neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town. Fort McMurray is still 90-percent intact despite a week of damage from the wildfires devastating Canada's oil sands region, Alberta's premier said after touring the deserted city on Monday. Firefighters warned however that the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the western oil city would not be able to return for at least two weeks. / AFP / POOL / CHRIS WATTIE (Photo credit should read CHRIS WATTIE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Burned out homes are pictured in the Abasand neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town. Fort McMurray is still 90-percent intact despite a week of damage from the wildfires devastating Canada's oil sands region, Alberta's premier said after touring the deserted city on Monday. Firefighters warned however that the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the western oil city would not be able to return for at least two weeks. / AFP / POOL / CHRIS WATTIE (Photo credit should read CHRIS WATTIE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Katie Daubs via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 9: Wildfire devastation as shown from a media tour. (Katie Daubs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
  • JONATHAN HAYWARD via Getty Images
    Burned out homes are seen in the foreground as other homes untouched by wildfires are seen in the background in Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 9, 2016. Fort McMurray is still 90-percent intact despite a week of damage from the wildfires devastating Canada's oil sands region, Alberta's premier said after touring the deserted city on Monday. Firefighters warned however that the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the western oil city would not be able to return for at least two weeks. / AFP / CP / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    Burned out homes are pictured in the Abasand neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town. Fort McMurray is still 90-percent intact despite a week of damage from the wildfires devastating Canada's oil sands region, Alberta's premier said after touring the deserted city on Monday. Firefighters warned however that the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the western oil city would not be able to return for at least two weeks. / AFP / POOL / CHRIS WATTIE (Photo credit should read CHRIS WATTIE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA, CANADA - MAY 6, 2016: DigitalGlobe AFTER-3 infra-red satellite image of a Fort McMurray neighborhood in Alberta following the devastating wildfire that destroyed the town. Image was taken on May 6th, 2016. (DigitalGlobe via GettyImages) NOTE: (1) The red indicated green vegetation. (2) This is a BEFORE-AFTER sequence that perfectly matches the BEFORE image.
  • DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA, CANADA - AUG 27, 2015: DigitalGlobe BEFORE-4 infrared satellite image of a neighborhood in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada before the devastating wildfire hit the town. Image was taken on August 27, 2015. (DigitalGlobe via GettyImages) NOTE: (1) The red indicated healthy green vegetation. (2) This is a BEFORE-AFTER sequence that perfectly matches the AFTER image.
  • Bloomberg via Getty Images
    A Fort McMurray wildfire evacuee sits with a co-worker's dog at an oilfield work camp where approximately 500 evacuees are staying, in Wandering River, Alberta, Canada, on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Wildfires raging through Alberta have spread toward the main oil-sands facilities north of Fort McMurray, knocking out an estimated 1 million barrels of production from Canadas energy hub. A cold front scheduled to pass through the area Sunday may bring light rain that would help fire fighters battle the inferno. Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA, CANADA - MAY 6, 2016: DigitalGlobe AFTER-2 infrared satellite image of a Fort McMurray neighborhood in Alberta following the devastating wildfire that destroyed the town. Image was taken on May 6th, 2016. (DigitalGlobe via GettyImages) NOTE: (1) The red indicated green vegetation. (2) This is a BEFORE-AFTER sequence that perfectly matches the BEFORE image.
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 08: Smoke fills the air as a police officer checks vehicles at a roadblock along Highway 63 leading into Fort McMurray on May 8, 2016 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Bloomberg via Getty Images
    A wildfire burns behind abandoned vehicles on the Alberta Highway 63 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Wildfires ravaging the center of Canada's oil patch in northern Alberta may double in size as warm temperatures and swirling winds push the inferno in the direction of major oil-sands operations. Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Bloomberg via Getty Images
    A wildfire burns behind an abandoned truck on Alberta Highway 63 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Wildfires raging through Alberta have spread to the main oil-sands facilities north of Fort McMurray, knocking out an estimated 1 million barrels of production from Canada's energy hub. Fire officials say the out-of-control inferno may keep burning for months without significant rainfall. Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: Smoke from wildfires drifts across the night sky on May 7, 2016 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • COLE BURSTON via Getty Images
    Flames rise off Highway 63 on May 7, 2016 outside Fort McMurray, where raging forest fires have forced more than 88,000 from their homes. A ferocious wildfire wreaking havoc in Canada was expected to double in size May 7, 2016, officials warned, cautioning that the situation in the parched Alberta oil sands region was 'unpredictable and dangerous.' / AFP / Cole Burston/ (Photo credit should read COLE BURSTON//AFP/Getty Images)
  • Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Truck drivers stand on Alberta Highway 63 as a wildfire burns near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Wildfires ravaging the center of Canada's oil patch in northern Alberta may double in size as warm temperatures and swirling winds push the inferno in the direction of major oil-sands operations. Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: Home foundations and skeletons of possesions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: The remains of a charred bicycle sit in a residential neighborhood heavily damages by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: Home foundations and skeletons of possesions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: The remains of a charred vehicle sit in a residential neighborhood heavily damages by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: Home foundations and skeletons of possesions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    ALBERTA, CANADA - MAY 05: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. (Photo by MCpl VanPutten / Department of National Defence in Canada / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 07: Home foundations and skeletons of possesions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • COLE BURSTON via Getty Images
    A water bomber flies overhead along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 6, 2016. Canadian police led convoys of cars through the burning ghost town of Fort McMurray Friday in a risky operation to get people to safety far to the south.In the latest chapter of the drama triggered by monster fires in Alberta's oil sands region, the convoys of 50 cars at a time are driving through the city at about 50-60 kilometers per hour (30-40 miles per hour) TV footage showed. / AFP / Cole Burston/ (Photo credit should read COLE BURSTON//AFP/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 06: The remains of a classic Triumph GT6 sit in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 06: Home foundations and shells of vehicles are nearly all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 06: Home foundations are all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FORT MCMURRAY, AB - MAY 06: The remains of a charred bicycle sits in a residential neighborhood on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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