Lesser Slave Lake Regional Urban Interface Wildfire – Lessons Learned (Final Report)

The wildfires that threatened the Lesser Slave Lake region in May of 2011 resulted in the largest disaster in the history of Alberta. Never have so many people been evacuated, or so much property been lost. Never has there been a rebuilding job like the one faced in the aftermath of the wildfires – roughly a quarter of the Town of Slave Lake was destroyed along with a large number of structures in the adjoining Municipal District of Lesser Slave River No.124. Governments, citizens, first responders and groups across the province came together in a heroic and unprecedented way to help fight the wildfires, support residents and help the affected communities to rebuild and recover.
When an event unlike any seen before occurs, there are always lessons to be learned. The Government of Alberta, through Alberta Municipal Affairs, commissioned this study to examine what happened and what insights can be gained from the experience of the wildfires and their aftermath. This review is not about blame and liability. It is about taking this rare opportunity to learn from the ways that this incredible event inspired Albertans to collaborate, even as it stretched our ability to respond. It is about ensuring that this experience leaves the province stronger and better prepared for future disasters.
This report brings together input from a great many of those people who were affected by the wildfires or involved in the events from May 14th to August 22nd, 2011. It considers how the plans, standards and protocols that existed at the time helped shape the actions taken.

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