The man who led the fight against “The Beast” is planning to move on.
Fire Chief Darby Allen announced he is planning to retire and the end of February, just a few months before his 60th birthday.
“My wife and I have always aimed for 2017. So we’re lucky enough to be able to retire then. We want to do a lot of travelling so between the ages of 60-65, in my era, a lot of guys don’t make it in those years. So we want to make sure we live our lives to the fullest. It just seems like the right time to go,” Allen told Mix News.
Allen became the face of the region during the fight to take down the wildfire he coined as “The Beast”. Speaking on Fort McMurray Matters, Allen says the fire brought forward his decision to retire.
“I’ve had some personal challenges since the fire. Although I think it was a success, you know you think about things. At the end of the day, I think it’s time to hand the reins over to somebody else.
He notes it was a hard decision.
“I got very mixed feelings about it. I feel some guilt leaving both Regional Emergency Services and leaving the people, given what we’ve been through. At the end of the day, I think I’ve done my job here now and we’re in the recovery phase. So, whenever I go, I’ll feel bad about that just because of the bond I feel with the people here and the department. At the end of the day, retirement comes to everybody and I think now’s the right time.
Allen and his wife will be moving to the west coast. He says his wife has osteoporosis and can’t do the Fort McMurray winters anymore.
Allen says he’s looking at different opportunities, but won’t be taking on a full-time fire role.