Posted on May 5, 2016
Fort McMurray Fires
Public safety remains the key priority as the wildfire in Fort McMurray continues to burn. Provincial fire crews continue their efforts to reduce the threat to property and infrastructure.
The road ahead is difficult, but I know Albertans are supporting each other and will face this challenge together. Albertans are resilient, and yesterday in Anzac and at Northlands, I heard the stories of strength, hard-work and perseverance that are so characteristic of the people of this province. Albertans have each other’s backs. First responders and volunteers are doing incredible work, day and night in extremely difficult situations, and I commend them for rising above and beyond the call of duty.
- You can call 310-4455, open daily from 7 am to 10 pm for wildfire related information.
- Evacuees should register their location at their local reception center OR by contacting Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070. It’s important to register to ensure officials know how to reach you and to verify you got out safely.
- Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Fort McMurray First Nation. Residents of evacuated areas should not attempt to return home.
- The fire is currently approximately 85,000 hectares in size.
- Emergency gas and diesel are temporarily available along Highway 63.
- Albertans can call 310-4455 for information and stay up to date on the Alberta Emergency Alert and Alberta Wildfire apps.
- More than 1,110 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers are fighting the fires.
- A provincially declared state of emergency for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is in effect.
- Fire conditions remain extreme, with 18 new starts yesterday. A total of 49 wildfires are burning, with seven considered out of control, 12 being held, 23 under control, and seven turned over to the responsible parties.
- Cooler temperatures of 16 C are predicted, but lower humidity and winds at 25 kilometres, gusting to 40 kilometres per hour, make weather a significant factor.
- There is currently no timeline on evacuees returning to their homes.
- Evacuees should contact Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070 OR their local reception area to register their location. It’s important to register to ensure officials know how to reach you and to verify you got out safely.
- We are working to airlift some people out of the northern camps. We’re also working to ensure people in those northern camps have fuel, so that once Highway 63 is safe for travel south, people can move to larger centres with better access to emergency support services. Highway 63 is NOT currently safe for travel. Do not attempt to leave your evacuation zone.
- Emergency fuel stations are operating in safety rest areas in the following locations on Highway 63:
- Approximately 60 km south of Fort McMurray
- Approximately 100 km south of Fort McMurray at Mariana Lakes; and
- Approximately 165 km south of Fort McMurray.
- Quantities are limited and will be restricted to motorists who need fuel to get them to the nearest fuel centre.
- There are currently eight reception centres operating within the province. Details are available on the Alberta government emergency updates website.
- Evacuees should contact Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070 to register their location. It’s important to register to ensure officials know how to reach you and to verify you got out safely.
Information for affected residents
- Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodations and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
- Alberta Health Services has issued a boil-water advisory for the area of Fort McMurray including Anzac, Conklin, Gregoire Lake Provincial Park, Janvier, Fort McKay and nearby work camps that use water from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Water Treatment Plant as a precautionary measure.
- Albertans can stay informed on latest developments by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert and Alberta Wildfire apps.
- Alberta Health Services has issued an Air Quality Advisory for the Fort McMurray area; residents are advised to take appropriate precautions. Real-time air quality data and information is available at www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/aqhi/aqhi.aspx.
- Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.
- Anyone who has suffered a property loss should contact their insurance provider. They may also be entitled to additional living expenses under their insurance policies.
- Albertans who cannot recall their insurance provider can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer information line for assistance at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at FortMacFire@ibc.ca.
Closures and affected services
- All provincial offices in Fort McMurray are closed due to the evacuation.
- Highway 63 is open to south-bound traffic. North-bound traffic is restricted to emergency vehicles and other essential travel at the junction of Highway 881.
- There are traffic controls in place at Highway 63 and 881. Priority is given to emergency responders. Southbound traffic is allowed.
- Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in Fort McMurray, are advised to call the Athabasca AISH office at 780-675-6853 during regular office hours or visit Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)
- For information on child intervention, child care and Family Support for Children with Disabilities, Fort McMurray and area residents may contact 1-800-638-0715.
- Information on emergency benefits for eligible Albertans in need is here: Emergency benefits to eligible Albertans in need
- Alberta Works clients who receive benefits by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in Fort McMurray, can call the 24-hour Income Support Contact Centre at 1-866-644-5135 (then press 1) or within Edmonton call 780-644-5135.
- Clients can also send an email to email@example.com to find out how to receive benefits.
- If persons with developmental disabilities, their families or contracted service providers need human, financial, or in-kind assistance to connect with loved ones, find accommodations or provide assistance to individuals receiving PDD supports, please contact the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Program Branch at 780-427-1177 ext#3 or as an alternate Disability Services at 780-415-2466 or visit Persons with Developmental Disabilities
- For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992.
- If you have an appointment with a probation officer, please call Lloydminster Community Corrections at 780-871-6470 for information on how to reschedule it.
- If you are serving an intermittent sentence at the Fort McMurray RCMP detachment, please call the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre at 780-992-5900 (toll-free in Alberta dial 310-0000, then 780-992-5900) for information.
- The Fort McMurray Courthouse is closed until further notice.
- Provincial Court: Out-of-custody matters will be adjourned to the fourth week of May. Custody matters will be dealt with in St. Albert on a day-to-day basis starting May 5, 2016. Appearances will be via CCTV.
- Queen’s Bench: Inquiries regarding Queen’s Bench matters may be directed to 780-645-6387 (St. Paul Queen’s Bench).
- Fish and Wildlife Enforcement: The Fort McMurray Fish and Wildlife District Office is closed until further notice. However, officers are still on the job. For general questions, please phone the Lac La Biche office at 780 623-5247 during business hours. To report a dangerous wildlife incident or suspicious hunting or fishing activity, please phone the 24-hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
Donations and volunteers
- The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations via phone, online or through text message. Details can be found at www.redcross.ca.
- At this time, we are not seeking volunteers.