WATCH: 1 year later, firefighters recall running towards ‘The Beast’ while thousands fled

On May 3, 2016, while tens of thousands of people fled Fort McMurray, hundreds went running in to begin to battle the wildfire now known as “The Beast.”

Christian Oberegger was in Week 5 of his firefighter recruit training when he got the call.

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    “We weren’t really set. We had wildland gear so I got out with a water pack and went into Beacon Hill and tried to put out a shed fire with a little water pack here… I thought I was going to get it, but we didn’t get it.”

    READ MORE: ‘Guys feel guilty’: emotional demons to slay after Fort McMurray wildfire

    Ed Grainger was at the gym downtown.

    “I remember thinking about Slave Lake and thinking about how insane that might have been. And then thinking about what would happen to our city, not fully understanding what was going to happen. And then it just showed up. Like it was out of a movie.”

    READ MORE: ‘These guys are working around the clock’: Alberta firefighters share what it’s like in Fort McMurray

    Ryan Pitchers had just started a day shift.

    “I had parts of my crew running around with garden houses putting out fence fires and deck fires as we were fighting the big house fires,” he said. “Everybody had the duty to do what they could to save what they could.”

    READ MORE: ‘I want us to recognize the true heroes’: Fire chief shares stories of heroism from Fort McMurray

    One year later, these men sat down with Global News to talk about some of the memories that stand out from that day and the wave of emotion that followed in the days, weeks and months after the wildfire.

    Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage to mark one year since the Fort McMurray wildfire

    Fort McMurray wildfire one year later: hear from residents and the premier

    07:32

    Fort McMurray wildfire one year later: hear from residents and the premier

01:13

Mayor Melissa Blake says businesses have ‘a long way to go’ to recover after wildfire

00:30

1 year after Fort McMurray wildfire, no word on what caused ‘The Beast’

04:19

Mayor Melissa Blake marks 1 year since Fort McMurray wildfire

03:21

Premier Rachel Notley marks 1 year since Fort McMurray wildfire: ‘This is a very difficult day’

03:28

Fort McMurray residents say sharing wildfire experience therapeutic

03:18

Fort McMurray to mark one year since wildfire with day of activities

01:10

Fort McMurray resident recalls fleeing wildfire with daughters on horseback

01:16

Fort McMurray resident contemplated leaving after wildfire but ‘missed home’

01:08

Fort McMurray mom talks about her ‘fire baby’ one year after wildfire