i remember discussing the idea of glenn applying for edmonton fire services

i remember telling him we would do whatever it took to get in and buying a stopwatch so we could train together

i remember when he signed his papers to start work with the department

i remember celebrating

i remember the text from ashley asking if we wanted anything from our house

i remember driving home through the swan hills seeing fires all around

i remember glenn calling jamie and bruce to see what he could do

i remember him going to bed right away so he could check in the next morning

i remember driving to town to fuel up, buy water and food, diapers (because we only had cloth) and formula

i remember watering my house and roof

i remember glenn leaving without hooking my trailer up... and i was so mad, because i wanted to have the trailer

i remember hooking up the water again the next morning after feeling the wind... crazy winds

i remember my neighbours coming over to see if i needed help loading anything and then telling me they were leaving

i remember not packing anything beyond daily needs and my anthropologie clothes because i didn't even know where to start

i remember seeing the fire start over the hill, calling glenn and getting nothing, but deciding to leave

i remember calling my friend lisa to see if we could go to her house

i remember getting a text from my friend saying they had to turn around because the fire crossed the highway just in front of them

i remember registering at the college with our adoption/permanency worker and telling her i thought our house was gone and she asked if we needed anything

i remember telling her we were fine and that all that mattered is that i had my family (porter and my dogs)

i remember getting to lisa's and changing porter's diaper, putting it in a plastic bag and in their freezer

i remember the winds changing, the smoke rolling in like a tsunami and us making the decision to head to the airport/helicopter hanger

i remember getting in the vehicle behind lisa and immediately being consumed by smoke so thick that i lost her (she was 5 feet in front of me)

i remember not being able to see anything

i remember the sound of propane tanks popping

i remember the roar of the wind and fire

i remember people loading everything they could and trying to get out of the neighbourhood

i remember trying to call glenn when i could see the fire hit to outskirts of the town of slave lake

i remember he didn't answer but i knew he was working between the fire and the town and if the fire had made it to town then the fire had burned through where he was

i remember not knowing if i would see him again

i remember thinking i needed to help and getting my SRD radio out

i remember seeing a young girl trying to flag someone down in the opposite direction i was suppose to go

i remember turning toward her instead and getting her in the vehicle

i remember her crying and saying she could not get ahold of her family and needed to get to them

i remember driving her to her house and the look on her face when her neighbour told her they had already evacuated

i remember getting stuck in town because of the detour and seeing the flames

i remember making a plan to open the canopy to let the dogs out, grabbing porter and running for the parking lot at walmart

i remember calling glenn and leaving him a voicemail saying i promised to look after porter and i loved him

i remember calling my mom and telling her what was happening and telling her i loved her and to pray

i remember finally getting a hold of lisa and meeting her to make our first attempt at evacuating town

i remember driving by my friend jake's SRD work truck and seeing him standing leaning on the truck

i remember pulling into the ditch and running toward him

i remember telling lisa something was not okay

i remember her asking me why and what we should do

i remember grabbing jake and pushing him to the ground

i remember his lively eyes being foggy, his booming voice being unsure and quaking and his hard, calloused hands being clammy and weak

i remember grabbing his radio and calling for a medic

i remember the response was there were no medics available

i remember telling them to send a police office

i remember the police officer coming and asking what the problem was

i remember telling him to take jake to the hospital even if he said he was okay

i remember getting him to promise me that they would contact forestry to tell them about jake and so that he was looked after

i remember telling lisa i needed to go back to help

i remember going back and lying to a police officer that i had been called back:(

i remember driving back into town and stopping when i saw it and lisa saying we needed to go

i remember evacuating and seeing ashley at the corner of the athabasca river and waving and crying

i remember getting to lisa's parents place and knowing we would be okay

i remember porter learning to suck his thumb to sooth himself because he had not been out of his car seat for over 8 hours

i remember not sleeping because i was so worried porter would wake anyone up

i remember getting a call from glenn saying the fire had jumped over them and he was fine

i remember him saying it looked like a war zone but he felt safe because he was with jamie and the fire department

i remember how amazing lisa and her family were to us

i remember deciding to go out to boston pizza (felt like home) and seeing the first newspaper image of the fire

i remember when the waitress noticed the looks on our face and asked if we were from there

i remember we said yes and she asked if we lost our home

i remember we didn't know

i remember the waitress taking forever to bring our bill and getting irritated

i remember when she finally did come it was comped

i remember when we found out that lisa had lost her home and that mine was okay

i remember wanting to throw up with guilt

i remember going to the second hand store to buy some clothes because we didn't want to have all new things

i remember getting a call from the manager for child and family services and her telling me that our adoption workers house had burnt

i remember being petrified that she was going to tell me that porter would be placed somewhere else because of what we were going through

i remember holding in tears the whole call and then crying just as she said goodbye

i remember her immediately calling back and saying the only thing i needed to hear, that porter would be staying with us no matter what

i remember going for lunch and seeing edmonton fire fighters

i remember going over and thanking them of coming to help and them asking about glenn

i remember telling him that he just signed on with them and that his start date was very soon

i remember going home two weeks later and mowing our neighbours lawns for hours so they would come back to some sort of normalcy

i remember offering our home to many friends because we were leaving and their houses burnt down

i remember thinking it wasn't fair

i remember knowing it wasn't fair

i remember feeling guilty for leaving, although it wasn't because of the fire

i remember how exhausted glenn was when he started his training

i remember how sick glenn was during the fire and then with his training (finding out a year later that he has crohns disease)

i remember will and kate coming to slave lake

i remember getting a truck service on my car and the tech asking jokingly if i had been to hell because my cabin air filter was black

i remember screaming like a little girl when i saw them drive by

i remember crying the first time i saw lisa's parents months after the evacuation

i remember wondering why our house hadn't burnt because our raised garden beds were burnt, the house directly across the street was burnt and the grass all around us (found out months later that some neighbours had stayed behind and worked to save our yard because if our house had went the rest of the street most likely would have too)

i remember these things especially on the fireversary of the slave lake fire... but what i choose to remember about this whole thing was the miracle that God kept people safe (with the exception of one brave helicopter pilot) in one of the biggest and fastest destructive events in alberta's history, that the heroes were found in the everyday people as well as our firefighters and emergency service workers, that family doesn't have anything to do with blood, that sometimes the best form of helping is to not try to help, people are resilient and slave lake is just amazing

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