On the Ravaged Trail of Canada’s Monster Fire

Our photographer visits the heartbreaking destruction left in the wake of the Fort McMurray wildfire.

An enormous wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, has displaced more than 80,000 people and destroyed an estimated 2,400 buildings, the majority of them homes.

While 90 percent of the town is still standing, it will be weeks before residents can return, as much of Fort McMurray is without power and water.

The fire began on May 1, and while the cause is as yet unknown, it was surely exacerbated by unusually warm weather and an insufficient snowpack from a dry winter.

Much of the news coverage around the fire has focused on the dramatic photos of fireballs and firestorms, but photographer Ian C. Bates documented the devastation in its path. The pictures are quiet and lonely—images of homes and memories now obliterated.