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Jamaicans among thousands evacuated during wildfire in Canadian province

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMNeil Armstrong

All the Jamaicans living in Fort McMurray, Alberta, are safe despite the raging wildfire in the province, which has seen the mass evacuation of more than 80,000 people - the largest evacuation caused by fire in Alberta's history.

Since Tuesday, the fire caused by the unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions has transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box, reports Metro Calgary.

The Jamaican High Commission has been monitoring the devastating fires in the area, where a number of Jamaicans work and reside. It says it will continue to watch the situation closely and has asked that Jamaicans in Fort McMurray make contact with the high commission for assistance as necessary.

Ainsworth Wisdom, president of the Association of Jamaicans in Fort McMurray, told The Gleaner that the concern now for many was what recovery would look like. He said many Jamaicans were homeowners living in that community. Their homes have been destroyed. Several businesses have been affected and skilled workers who came from Jamaica to work there have also been adversely affected.

Wisdom said they were trying to get a Facebook page active so that people could keep in touch. They have been communicating via a WhatsApp account.