Work Progressing on Several Fronts for Fort McMurray – Premier Notley

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Forest Fire Report

Forest Fire Report

Hope Grows for Fort McMurray Returnees

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Notley states, “Last week, five conditions were identified that need to be in place for the safe re-entry of Fort McMurray residents. Work has been progressing on all these fronts, in some cases faster than expected. But this remains an active fire zone, with significant air-quality concerns that may delay recovery work and a return to the community. Public safety remains our first priority.”

The wildfire situation in Alberta remains at an extreme level. The mandatory evacuations are continuing for Fort McMurray.

Current situation

  • Fire conditions remain extreme in the province.
  • A fire started yesterday in the Municipal District of Greenview, south of the Hamlet of Little Smoky and north of Fox Creek. The fire is approximately 800 hectares in size. A mandatory evacuation notice and State of Local Emergency have been issued. Both sides of Highway 43 were evacuated from Township Roads 650 to 664 and Range Roads 215 to 210. A reception centre has been established at the Paradise Inn in Valleyview (3609 Highway St, Valleyview).
  • The Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control. It is estimated to cover 284,214 hectares.
  • There were four new fire starts over the past 24 hours. A total of 15 wildfires are burning, with three out of control.
  • There are 1,919 firefighters, 161 helicopters, 377 pieces of heavy equipment and 29 air tankers currently battling the fires.
  • ATCO has more than 300 employees on the ground in Fort McMurray restoring critical utility infrastructure and temporary housing.
  • 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

  • The temperature forecast for today is 25 C with a relative humidity of 15.
  • Temperatures are forecast in the high 20s for the next few days, with winds gusting up to 40 kilometres per hour out of the south.

Abandoned vehicles

North of Fort McMurray

  • To ensure safety, Alberta Transportation is suspending abandoned vehicle retrieval for individuals with vehicles on Highway 881 or on Highway 63 north of the Highway 63/881 junction due to heavy wildfire smoke.
  • Albertans who want to retrieve their vehicles from this area are asked to check our website (emergency.alberta.ca) for updates on when conditions improve and it will be safe to travel to your vehicle.

South of Fort McMurray

  • Individuals who abandoned their vehicles on Highway 63 south of the Highway 63/881 junction can call Highway 63 Towing & Recovery at 1-877-671-2717 to confirm if their vehicle is at the Wandering River yard and ready for retrieval.
  • Vehicles are stored at the Wandering River yard, about 230 kilometres north of Edmonton.

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 in the coming 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 16 – 19: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. – noon
NAIT North Lobby
11762 106 Street
May 16 – 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 16 – 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 16 – 19: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
May 20: 8 a.m. – noon

Lac La Biche

Alberta Works
9503 Beaverhill Road
Provincial Building
Monday to Friday: 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

After May 20, emergency financial assistance will move 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 9,900 calls have come in.
  • As of end of the day Sunday, 27,736 debit cards totalling $60.5 million had been distributed to assist 58,069 individuals (a single card can be issued for several family members).

Information for affected residents

  • A telephone town hall is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on 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 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 17 reception centres operating within the province. Additional details are available on the Alberta government emergency updates website: emergency.alberta.ca.
  • 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: www.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 www.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 must have pre-authorization from the RCMP and are required to register for a permit at the 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.

Satellite maps

  • Albertans can use an online mapping application to survey damage in Fort McMurray.
  • The maps are intended to provide a high-level satellite overview of the status of the city following the wildfires.
  • The current resolution of the satellite images indicates only which areas were most severely damaged.
  • Structures that appear to be standing should not be considered undamaged.
  • These images should not be used for official damage assessments, determining the status of individual structures or planning re-entry to the city.
  • Higher-resolution imagery will be released in the days ahead. It is anticipated that this future set of images will provide enough detail to assist property owners with insurance claims, recovery eligibility funding and other recovery actions.
  • The maps are available at: https://cdn.albertamapservices.ca/FortMcMurray

Small Business Support

The Business Link

  • Small businesses affected by the wildfires are encouraged to reach advisory services through The Business Link online: http://businesslink.ca or by phone at 1-800-272-9675.
  • Small business advisers will be able to provide information, answer questions, direct you to various resources and, where possible, connect you with the experts who can help. Advisers are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

Financial Assistance

  • Businesses in need of financial assistance should contact their banks.
  • Depending on the circumstances, there may be special instruments or options available to you, such as:
    • payment deferrals on personal and business credit products
    • loan restructurings
    • fee adjustments
    • mortgage re-amortizations

Insurance

  • If you opted for it, your small business may have some measure of interruption or fire insurance.
  • Talk to your insurance company and it will assist you in the appropriate claims process.
  • In case of issues, you can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) at 1-844-227-5422, email: FortMacFire@ibc.ca, or visit the Business Insurance page online: http://www.ibc.ca/ab/business.

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