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Fort McMurray Wildfire Update

Current situation

  • The fire remains out of control. It is estimated to cover 251,000 hectares.
  • In order to reduce fuel buildup and prevent the spread of wildfires, fire operations in the form of a back burn are occurring along the west side of Highway 63. This is happening about 50 kilometres north of Mariana Lake to the Highway 881/63 junction.
  • There were nine new fire starts over the past 24 hours. A total of 15 wildfires are burning, with two out of control.
  • There are 2,277 firefighters, 147 helicopters, 280 pieces of heavy equipment and 29 air tankers currently battling the fires.
  • ATCO has about 300 workers in Fort McMurray, including teams of water specialists working with the municipality’s water experts to assess damage.
  • Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation remain under a mandatory evacuation order. Fort McKay First Nation is under a recommended evacuation order.

Weather

  • It’s expected to get warmer in the next week. No precipitation is forecast up to Wednesday, May 18.

Abandoned vehicles

  • Individuals forced to abandon their vehicles on Highway 63 south of the Highway 63/881 junction during the evacuation should call Highway 63 Towing & Recovery at 1-877-671-2717 to confirm if your vehicle is at the Wandering River yard, approximately 230 km north of Edmonton.
  • Anyone seeking to recover their vehicles abandoned on Highway 881 or on Highway 63 north of Highway 63/881 junction should call 310-4455. This includes vehicles abandoned on Highway 63 within Fort McMurray.

Update on plans for re-entry

  • The 2016 Wildfire Recovery Task Force is meeting regularly to plan re-entry into affected communities.
  • We expect to be able to share the re-entry plan within 10 days, and the plan will answer most questions about timing.
  • Five things need to be in place for re-entry:
    • Wildfire is no longer an imminent threat to the community
    • Critical infrastructure is repaired to provide basic service
    • Essential services, such as fire, EMS, police and health care are restored to a basic level
    • Hazardous areas are secure. There are 100 truckloads of fencing being sent to Fort McMurray.
    • Local government is re-established

Emergency Financial Assistance – Debit Cards

  • $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependant in one-time emergency financial assistance is being provided to people who have been displaced.
  • Parking is free at debit-card locations.

Debit Card Location

Hours of Operation

Edmonton

Edmonton Butterdome
114 Street and 87 Avenue

May 15 - 19: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. - noon

NAIT North Lobby
11762 106 Street

May 15 - 19: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. - noon

Strathcona County Community Centre In the Agora (The Welcome Centre)
2001 Sherwood Drive, Sherwood Park

May 15 - 19: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. - noon

Calgary

BMO Centre
Calgary Stampede Park, Hall A
20 Roundup Way SW

May 15 - 19: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. - noon

McMahon Stadium
Red & White Club
1833 Crowchild Trail NW

May 15: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
After May 15 this location will be closed.

Lac La Biche

Penalty Box upstairs in the Bold Centre
8702-91 Avenue

May 15: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
After May 15, emergency financial assistance will be moved to the Alberta Works office at 9503 Beaverhill Road.

  • After May 20, emergency financial assistance will be moved to Alberta Works offices. More information will come in the following days.
  • For additional information, please contact 310-4455 toll-free in Alberta or 1-844-406-3276 toll-free outside Alberta.
  • Since this disaster began, approximately 7,900 calls have come in.
  • As of end of the day Saturday, 23,451 debit cards totalling $51.6 million had been distributed to assist 49,369 individuals (a single card can be issued for several family members).

Information for affected residents

  • A telephone town hall has been scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for Monday, May 16.
  • Evacuees who have registered their cellphone numbers and emergency contact numbers with the Red Cross will be phoned before 7 p.m.
  • AHS has health-care teams at several reception centres and help is also available by calling Health Link toll-free at 811 or the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.
  • Canada Post has set up a mail-forwarding service for displaced residents of Fort McMurray, Anzac and Fort MacKay. Individuals can sign up at online at canadapost.ca/mailforward or at any Canada Post location to ensure they receive urgent mail, such as government assistance.
  • All evacuees should register with the Red Cross – no matter where they are currently. This will help ensure they have access to the services they may need, including access to emergency financial assistance. Register: online at RedCross.ca; or by phone at 1-888-350-6070.

Evacuation information

  • There are 16 reception centres operating within the province. Additional details are available on the Alberta government emergency updates website: alberta.ca/emergency.
  • Albertans can stay up to date on wildfire-related information by calling 310-4455 toll-free in Alberta or 1-844-406-3276 toll-free outside of Alberta, and by using the Alberta Emergency Alert and Alberta Wildfire apps.

Health-related information

  • A boil-water advisory remains in effect for the area of Fort McMurray including Anzac, Conklin, Gregoire Lake Provincial Park, Janvier and nearby work camps that pull water from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Water Treatment Plant.
  • AHS has issued an air-quality advisory for the Fort McMurray area, as well as a precautionary air-quality advisory for Edmonton, central zone and communities in the North Zone due to wildfires; residents are advised to take appropriate precautions. Real-time air-quality data and information is available at environment.alberta.ca/apps/aqhi/aqhi.aspx.

Medical procedures

  • AHS is accommodating any patients from Fort McMurray who were booked to have an elective surgery or procedure at Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
  • Surgeries will be accommodated on a priority basis.
  • Patients whose procedures have to be rescheduled will be contacted. In the meantime, AHS will ensure they receive the care and treatment they need.
  • For more information, please contact Health Link at 811.

Court information

  • The Fort McMurray courthouse remains closed; an updated schedule for upcoming court matters is online at albertacourts.ca.
  • The government is working with the judiciary to arrange rescheduling and relocation of court matters as needed.
  • Provincial Court custody matters are being heard via CCTV in places where there is available space. Others matter have been or will be adjourned.
  • Court matters and services will move back to the Fort McMurray courthouse when it is safe to do so.

Transportation updates

  • Highway 63 is open to through traffic only to allow employees and supplies of oil sands operations to return and resume production. There is no public access to the city at this time.
  • This is not a call for workers or residents to return to the Fort McMurray area. Travel into Fort McMurray is still restricted to emergency response and essential services only.
  • The RCMP traffic control point for northbound traffic has been moved away from the Highway 63/881 junction to the oversized load rest area eight km south of Fort McMurray.
  • Any vehicles travelling into Fort McMurray are required to register for a permit at this traffic control point.

Hwy 881 remains closed in both directions from the Highway 63/881 junction at the north end to kilometre marker 232, which is about 28 km north of Janvier.

View this announcement online


Government of Alberta