Fire chief applauded for wildfire leadership, takes break

Fort McMurray Chief Darby Allen plans to decompress and “have a couple of beers”


FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta — After working to combat the massive wildfire that broke out two weeks ago, Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen will briefly step down from his position as director of emergency management.

Allen announced Thursday he will be taking a break and travel south of the city to spend time with his family. “I’ll be honest, I need a break, and I’m going to spend time with my family and we’re going to hug a lot and I’ll have a couple of beers,” Allen told CTV.

Firefighters have shifted from putting out the fire to focus on restoring liveability in the community, and are working to restore municipal services. 

“I’m OK at putting out fires and getting people out, but the next phase is not mine,” Allen said. 

Executive director of community and protective services Bob Coture will take on Allen’s position. Allen remarked that after some much-needed family time, he will “get on with being a fire chief again.”

Officials have continued preparations for restoring the community structures and plan to announce a preliminary re-entry plan within the next two weeks. 

Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee said officials still need to confirm Fort McMurray is safe for residents to return and “until it is, people cannot go home.”

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