Darby is a native of Birmingham, England, where he worked as a firefighter for the Hampshire Fire Brigade, the Allen family emigrated to Canada in 1990. He began work as a firefighter with the Calgary Fire Department in 1992, moving up in rank to Assistant Deputy Chief of Operations, before moving onto Fort McMurray Emergency Services in 2009. He became the Regional Fire Chief in 2013.
Known as the face of the Alberta wildfires-and widely celebrated as a national hero-Darby Allen is an exemplar of selfless courage and level-headedness under pressure. Allen was Regional Fire Chief of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, an area that encompasses the community of Fort McMurray. In spring 2016, he spearheaded the evacuation of 88,000 people, the city's entire population, while the rest of the world watched. Throughout the ensuing weeks of operations, he worked tirelessly with first responders and volunteers, who came from across the nation (and globe) to assist. His updates to the media were not only a means of reliable information, but a source of optimism-Allen provided calm reassurance as the lead spokesperson throughout the rescue efforts.
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