By Damian Asher with Omar Mouallem
An action-packed, on-the-ground memoir of the Fort McMurray Wildfire and the courage, resilience, and sacrifice of the firefighters who saved the city.
In May 2016, what began as a remote forest fire quickly became a nightmare for the ninety thousand residents of Fort McMurray. A combination of weather, geography and circumstance created a raging wildfire that would spread across nearly 1,500,000 acres, devouring over 2,500 residences and forcing the entire population to evacuate. As the fire swept through neighbourhoods, it was left to the men and women of the fire department to protect the community.
Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Damian Asher was a fifteen-year veteran and a captain in the city’s fire department, tasked with protecting not only the homes, businesses, and citizens, but also the brotherhood of firefighters. As embers rained down around them, they barely slept, pushing their minds and bodies to the brink as they struggled to contain the fire. As he led his crew through the smoke and the flames, doing everything possible to ensure everyone was hydrated, fed and safe, Damian had little time to worry about whether his own family’s house—which he built himself—was still standing. With media unable to get into the locked-down city, the world watched in hope and fear, wondering what was happening on the fiery streets. This is the story of how Fort McMurray was saved.