From ANN, May 7, 2016:    Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Canada are closely monitoring a wildfire in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, that caused the local government to declare a state of emergency and forced more than 80,000 residents to flee their homes. A mandatory evacuation order was issued on May 4 when wildfires spread across the Athabasca and Hanginstone rivers and engulfed several neighborhoods in flames.

Between 18,000 and 22,000 residents who fled their homes traveled to Edmonton, the closest large city to the south of Ft. McMurray, while all others had to go north, with many staying in work camps.

The fire has spread over 85,000 hectares, or over 330 miles, and has destroyed more than 50 percent of the city.

The wildfires, fueled by dry conditions and wind, have doubled in size and changed directions. Reports say some communities have lost up to 80 percent of their homes.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all whose lives are impacted by the fires there,” says Mark Johnson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Canada. “We continue to monitor reports regarding the well-being of our Adventist families in the community.”

The Edmonton South Seventh-day Adventist Church, along with at least 10 Adventist families in the area, have opened their homes to the displaced.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Canada and the Alberta Conference have partnered with the Red Cross to assist affected residents. ADRA is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

For more information, please visit ADRA Canada.[1]

Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the denomination’s world headquarters in Washington, DC.

Featured image credit: ANN/Brad Davis.