Almost 90,000 people were forced to leave their homes when wildfires hit the city of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. Fleeing your home is hard enough, but Canadian North and West Jet have made the task a little bit easier by allowing pets to fly with their owners inside main cabins.
On May 4 alone, Canadian North ran 71 evacuation flights, many of which had evacuees who turned up with their pets. Airlines are typically strict with transporting animals, but Canadian North and West Jet made exemptions for the residents of Fort McMurray.
"It's definitely unusual to carry pets in the cabin, but due to the unusual circumstances we were able to bend the rules to accommodate these animals," said a spokesperson for Canadian North.
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Canadian North even pitched in to cat-sit "Meow Meow" after her pregnant owner went into labor. Meow Meow even got her own ID during her stay.
Many appreciated the airlines' effort to be considerate, but now question how they'll ever get back to traveling with pets in kennels after experiencing what it's like to fly with their beloved animals beside them.
The wildfire in Fort McMurray will go down in history as the biggest evacuation effort in Alberta, but it is not clear what caused it yet. Many are saying it was caused by global warming, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it is too early to speculate. The Canadian government's main priorities are to ensure that all the residents are safe and to help in rebuilding the city.
There's a lot of damage in Fort McMurray, but there are many more spots in the city that were miraculously untouched by the wildfire, including hospitals, schools and treatment plants. In fact, according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, just 10 percent of structures in the city were decimated.
Containing the wildfire took a positive turn when it drizzled and winds were favorable. However, there are still some areas in Fort McMurray that continue to smolder and there is no water, power nor gas.
"We want to let our citizens know that home is still here and soon as we can get you back we will," said Darby Allen, regional fire chief.