-- For the past four days, wildfires have been raging through Alberta, Canada, destroying some 1,600 homes and forcing more than 100,000 residents to evacuate.
Forced to leave their home, one family had to put everything on hold, including a birthday celebration for soon-to-be 5-year-old Maddox.
Prior to the wildfires, the Nolin family had a big party planned for their son, who was counting down the days until the celebration. However, once the fire spread and it was time to leave, Maddox's mother, Corina Nolin, said there was no mention of his birthday or the celebration.
"His birthday wasn't important anymore," Nolin explained. "He never even asked if he was going to get a present on the morning of his birthday, which was heartbreaking. He was supposed to have this great party and I was so upset he wasn't even going to have a single present."
After driving for 15 hours in traffic through the night, the Nolin family finally reached safety at a campground in Edmonton. With nowhere to go, Nolin's husband's received a call from his employer, who booked the family a hotel room for five nights to get settled and organized.
"We were all up for 30 hours after driving in traffic and happy to be safe," Nolin said.
Nolin said once they arrived at the hotel, the family mentioned it was their son's birthday and things only improved from there.
"They offered to bake a cake and there were balloons and the hotel even gave Maddox a Toys 'R' Us gift card," Nolin said. "I was worried about no one being there to celebrate with him, so they invited kids from the hotel to come join."
But those wouldn't be the only guests to join the party. The night before Maddox's birthday, Nolin found out one of her son's friends was staying in the same hotel. She also later found out neighbors and other friends who also had to evacuate were in the area and asked them to join the celebration as well.
After everyone was gathered, Nolin said her husband brought Maddox out of the hotel room, where he was surprised by family and friends.
"Seeing friends and neighbors from home was really amazing for him," Nolin explained. "He really didn't expect to see them any time soon. He was just so excited."
Nolin and her family still cannot return home, but she said being able to have a birthday party for her son brought her joy in moments of fear and loss.
"We have no idea where we're going from here," Nolin said. "But, I'm so grateful Maddox had an amazing birthday."
Watch Maddox's reaction to his surprise birthday party here: