Fort McMurray Wildfires

Fort McMurray is 435 kilometres (270 mi) northeast of Edmonton on Highway 63, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of the Saskatchewan border, nestled in the boreal forest at the confluence of the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River. It sits at 370 metres (1,210 ft) above sea level. Fort McMurray is the largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.


Before the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th Century, the Cree were the dominant First Nations people in the Fort McMurray area. The Athabasca Oil Sands were known to the locals and the surface deposits were used to waterproof their canoes. In 1778, the first European explorer, Peter Pond, came to the region in search of furs, as the European demand for this commodity at the time was strong. Pond explored the region farther south along the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River, but chose to set up a trading post much farther north by the Athabasca River near Lake Athabasca. However, his post closed in 1788 in favour of Fort Chipewyan, now the oldest continuous settlement in Alberta.

In 1790, the explorer Alexander MacKenzie made the first recorded description of the oil sands. By that time, trading between the explorers and the Cree was already occurring at the confluence of the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers. The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company were in fierce competition in this region. Fort McMurray was established there as a Hudson's Bay Company post by 1870, and continued to operate as a transportation stopover in the decades afterwards. The Alberta and Great Waterways Railway arrived in 1915 complementing existing steamboat service.

The community has played a significant role in the history of the petroleum industry in Canada. Oil exploration is known to have occurred in the early 20th century, but Fort McMurray's population remained small, no more than a few hundred people. By 1921, there was serious interest in developing a refining plant to separate the oil from the sands. Alcan Oil Company was the first outfit to begin bulk tests at Fort McMurray. The nearby community of Waterways was established to provide a terminus for waterborne transportation, until 1925, when the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway reached there.

Abasands was the first company to successfully extract oil from the oil sands through hot water extraction by the 1930s, but production was very low. Fort McMurray's processing output gradually grew to over 1,100 barrels/day by World War II, and Fort McMurray was set up by the US and Canadian forces as staging ground for the Canol project.

Fort McMurray and Waterways amalgamated as the village of McMurray (the "Fort" was dropped until 1962, when it was restored to reflect its heritage) by 1947, and became a town a year later. Fort McMurray was granted the status of new town so it could get more provincial funding. By 1966, the town's population was over 2,000.

In 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) plant opened and Fort McMurray's growth soon took off. More oil sands plants were opened up, especially after 1973 and 1979, when serious political tensions and conflicts in the Middle East triggered oil price spikes. The population of the town reached 6,847 by 1971 and climbed to 31,000 by 1981, a year after its incorporation as a city.

The city continued to grow for a few years even after the oil bust caused by the collapse in world oil prices. The population peaked at almost 37,000 in 1985, then declined to under 34,000 by 1989. Low oil prices since the oil price collapse in 1986 slowed the oil sands production greatly, as oil extraction from the oil sands is a very expensive process and lower world prices made this uneconomical. However, the oil price increase since 2003 have made oil extraction profitable again.

On April 1, 1995, the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143 were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The new municipality was subsequently renamed the Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo on August 14, 1996. As a result, Fort McMurray was no longer officially designated a city. Instead, it was designated an urban service area within a specialized municipality. The amalgamation resulted in the entire RM of Wood Buffalo being under a single government. Its municipal office is located in Fort McMurray.

The slump in oil prices which began in December 2014 and deepened in 2015 resulted in some layoffs and postponement of projects.

Along with prosperity and the love of money came the moral degeneration of the people of Fort McMurray and as a result wickedness became the way of life for most people. The inevitable judgment by God's hand was no different than the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah for its wickedness, and we invite you to read the story of Lot in Genesis 19. You can also read it in the article 'CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times' published on this website.  

May 2016 wildfires

On May 3, 2016, at 5:00 pm MDT a large wildfire burning southwest of Fort McMurray resulted in the mandatory evacuation of 12 communities in the city's area. Over 29,000 people were affected by the evacuation, marking Alberta's largest evacuation for a wildfire. At 6:49 pm, all of Fort McMurray was placed under a mandatory evacuation, affecting over 90,000 people, or 72% of Wood Buffalo's 125,032 population. An unusually warm May temperature of 32 °C (90 °F) and low humidity contributed to the fire's growth.

The catastrophic wildfire prompted a state of emergency and destroyed 2000 homes and buildings and consumed more than 85,000 hectares after only three days. None of us know the total destruction that will take place as a result of the wildfires in and around Fort McMurray, but it will be of biblical proportions, a term used by the media that they are unable to understand.

As a result of media reports, that were void of any explanation or understanding of the  root-cause of the calamities that have engulfed Fort McMurray, we communicated the following message to Steve Murphy, Senior News Editor and Anchor for CTV News in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, who has been a regular recipient of our emails for more than twenty five years, and who deliberately continues to ignore God's message, along with many other media personalities and reporters.

A copy was forwarded to key contacts at Bell Media, including the President and the Vice-President and a number of its reporters. Also included were key contacts at the CBC and Global News, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the Premier of Alberta, Nova Scotia and other Provincial and Local politicians in Nova Scotia. A number of reporters for The Chronicle Herald and key contacts for the Cape Breton post were also included, along with the pastors of the Cape Breton Christian Fellowship Church.

From: Andy G. van den Berg
Sent: Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:55 AM
To: Steve Murphy

Cc: Andy LeBlanc, Trent McGrath, Joanne Clancy, Mary Ann Turcke, Randy Lennox, Lisa LaFlemme, Marci Ien, Beverly Thomson, Jeff Hutcheson, Bruce Frisko, Matt Woodman, Jayson Baxter, Peter Mansbridge, Anna Maria Tremonti, Ron Kronstein, David Pate, Tom Murphy, Kyle Moore, Stephen McNeil, Jamie Baillie, Gary C. Burrill, John DeMont, Rachel Brighton, Dan Leger, Gail Lethbridge, Graham Steele, Bill Black, Ralph Surette, Jim Meek, Jan Wong, Spencer Walsh, Tim Richards, Lianne Elliott, Michael J. Savage, Cecil P. Clarke, Michael Merritt, Marlene Usher, Nancy Johnson, Scott MacQuarrie, Justin Trudeau, Geoff Regan, Rachel Notley, Anita DeLazzer, Kevin Mattatell, Bruce DeYoung, Mark Tobin.

Subject: Fort McMurray Catastrophe


For a better understanding of the images of the Fort Mac Wildfires we invite you to read the articleNatural Disasters – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Typhoons, Famines, Floods, Droughts, Wildfires and Pestilences, listed on our website in which CTV Atlantic and your name were quoted.

For the last twenty years we have learned of the decadence of Fort McMurray and the hunger by its people and the love for money, that resulted in the fruits of the gathering of material possessions, adultery, failed marriages, the abuse of alcohol, sex and drugs. Fort McMurray had become one of the most wicked cities in Canada. Now that God has shown his hand as part of his judgment on the people of Fort McMurray, the media are gathered once again like vultures feasting on a dead carcass, in an attempt to obtain all the terrible images, without making mention of the cause of this terrible tragedy. Trust us, God is no respecter of persons (Deut. 10:17; 2 Chr. 19:7; Job 34:19; Matthew 22:16; Luke 20:21; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:11,25; 1 Peter 1:17).

Psalm 118:8-12.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.

They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.

Isaiah 53:1; John 12:38.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

We welcome your questions.

In His Service.

Andy & Dianne van den Berg –

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