As flames rage in Canada, perfect strangers become heroes and friends.

An unrelenting wildfire in Western Canada has forced the evacuation of more than 88,000 people.

The massive flame devastated the bustling town of Fort McMurray, Alberta, which was evacuated on May 3. More communities have followed suit, with Gregoire Lake Estates and Anzac residents also forced to evacuate.

A photograph from the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Department demonstrates smoke emerge from a heavily wooded area. Photo by Lynn Daina/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Whipping gales pushed flames toward homes and business, as clouds of thick smoke filled the air. Residents barely had time to get out, only grabbing the bare necessities before fleeing to safety at one of the area’s work camps, which are doubling as temporary shelters.

A young girl sits on a cot at a makeshift shelter. Photo by Cole Burston/ AFP/ Getty Images.

“For some reason I truly wanted my son’s first pair of shoes, ” evacuee Jason Blair told CBC television .

But amidst uncertainty, dread, and demolition, there are helpers and there is hope.

All across Canada, emergency response professionals, civilians, and perfect strangers are stepping up to help each other and get through this tragedy. Here are a few of the bright spots in the wake of this disaster .

1. Countless people have pitched in to donate clothes and food.

When you have to run for your life, clean clothes promptly become a luxury. Alberta residents stepped up big time for their neighbors in need. Food, diapers, and newborn formula were also popular gifts .

A woman sorts through donations at makeshift evacuation center in Lac La Biche, Alberta. Photo by Cole Burston/ AFP/ Getty Images.

And not a moment too soon .

2. Canadian airline WestJet lent a hand er, wing for the cause.

They flew supplies in and offered to evacuate anyone in need of medical treatment.

3. In situations like this, everyone needs water. Les Wiley took to the streets to deliver it some to people evacuating their homes.

Photo by Cole Burston/ AFP/ Getty Images.

4. These employees from construction company Ledcor live at camps for long stretches, but they blithely gave up their beds to people evacuating the flame.

5. These refugees from Syria are new to Calgary, but they’re no stranger to loss. That’s why they’re helping out the evacuees.

Annalise Klingbeil of the Calgary Herald spoke with one new Canadian, who shared why she feels such a strong desire to help.

6. The community is stepping up for four-legged friends too.

The Edmonton Humane Society is rescuing and housing displaced and stray animals from the area indefinitely until the owners return to claim them. Local store Champion Petfoods is supplying free food for puppies and cats at their main office.

Hang in there, kitty. This purr-fect pet isn’t in Edmonton, but lots of sweet displaced puppies and cats are. Photo by Angela N ./ Flickr.

Ready to pitch in? Here are the best ways to help.

If you’re in Canada, especially Alberta, consider donating needed supplies to an emergency relief place. Call or tweet before you go to make sure they’re accepting gifts, especially the items you’d like to contribute.

Madeline Cummings of the Edmonton Examiner shared a listing of requires from one emergency outpost.

And if you’re not close by( or even if you are) and your budget allows, you might consider devoting a monetary contribution .

When tragedy ten-strikes, food and supplyings can go a long way, but with money, shelters can buy things in bulk, so your$ 5 donation may go farther than$ 5 spent on canned goods at the store.

No matter how you help, it’s important that we come together to support each other.

In periods like these, every hug, every kind term, and every gift can mean the world to person in need. With acts of kindness big and small, all of us can help the families and communities affected by tragedy.

Photo by Cole Burston/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Read more: www.upworthy.com

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