Former Windsor Family Fleeing Alberta Fire

Forest fire forcing Fort McMurray residents to evacuate, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Laura Niven)

Laura Niven describes the scene in Fort McMurray as “pure chaos.”

The Windsor-native, along with her husband Bob and their 11-month-old Alex, are now in Edmonton after fleeing wildfires that have engulfed their Alberta town.

“Where our neighbourhood was, the fire was directly across from us as we were evacuating,” Niven explains. “It took me, to get from our front door while we were evacuating, to Confederation Dr. [the main road out of town], an hour and a half, which is a three minute walk.”

With 40,000 people all leaving Fort McMurray at the same time down a two-lane highway, Niven says it took them 13 hours to reach Edmonton — usually about a four hour trip.

The municipality is keeping residents informed about the fire through social media, and camps are being set up just outside of Edmonton for people who don’t have places to stay.

Lucky for the Nivens, they have friends in both Edmonton and Calgary who they’re planning to stay with.

Through the stress and sleepless nights, Niven says she just hopes their home is still standing when all is said and done.

Listen to’s Mike Vlasveld’s full interview with Laura Niven below.