More than six months after a wildfire that killed nine people destroyed their homes, they’re finally feeling the full impact of the devastation.
“We are still reeling from what we had,” said Mark Ritchie, whose house was destroyed by the fire in April 2017.
“The family is still grieving.”
“I’ve just had a lot of people come up and say, ‘My brother, my wife, my kids, my parents, my aunties — thank you for everything.
Thank you for making this possible,'” Ritchie said.”
That’s a big thing that’s been hard for the whole family to wrap their heads around.”
The first of four families to rebuild their lives in Alberta, Ritchie and his wife, Jill, are still waiting to hear back from the province.
The Ritchies were among the first to receive the $1 million donation in the fall of 2017 from the Alberta Disaster Relief Fund.
Since then, more than 100 other families have been receiving assistance, but it’s unclear how many are going to receive more help this year.
The Ritchie family is also still trying to process what happened to their home.
“It’s not like we’re on the edge of a cliff.
We’ve got to go through this as normal.
I still have a job.
I have a car,” Jill Ritchie told CBC News.”
But it’s not something we’re ready for.”
The couple’s home was located in a remote part of the province, close to Highway 9, where it had been burned down by a wildfire in the summer of 2017.
It was one of several burned out homes that occurred during the wildfire that year.
“The last couple of months have been really hard, for sure,” Jill said.
The couple is also hoping for some help from the federal government.
“What we’re really hoping for is that the federal governments assistance will be helpful, to support the family financially,” Jill told CBC.
“If they can provide some support for the families, that would be very appreciated.”
The government of Alberta has set up a hotline for the affected families, which can be reached at 1-800-726-6874.