Situation Update: Update 7: Northwest Alberta wildfire

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Wildfire near High Level in Northwest Alberta
Wildfire near High Level in Northwest Alberta

EDMONTON – Wildfire battles continue as conditions remain hot and dry with gusty winds. To date, the province has provided more than $4.9 million in one-time, emergency support payments to approximately 5,000 evacuees.

Current situation

  • Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres southwest of the Town of High Level in Mackenzie County.
  • This out-of-control wildfire has grown to more than 130,000 hectares.
  • Parts of northern Alberta remain under a special air quality advisory.
  • Resources on the ground include about 420 wildland firefighters, 168 structural fighters and staff, supported by helicopters, air tankers and heavy equipment.
  • A voluntary evacuation is in place for Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and areas north of High Level.

Financial supports

  • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you were:
    • living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
  • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 for each adult and $500 for each dependent child.
  • Applications are open:
    • Apply inperson at one of the evacuation reception centres listed below.
    • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smart phone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
    • If you require assistance registering, call 310-4455
    • If you’re having technical issues, contact My Alberta Digital ID at 1-844-643-2789 (Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Reception and call centres

  • Reception centres are open at:
    • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue NE)
    • High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre (5413 49 Street)
    • Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
    • Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
    • La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
    • Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
    • Hay River Dene Wellness Centre (In K’atl’ Odeeche First Nation, 17 kilometres east of Hay River)
  • 310-4455 call centre hours are extended until Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Highway closures

  • Highway 35 remains closed between five kilometres and 30 kilometres south of High Level. Highway 697 and the La Crete Ferry is identified as a detour.
  • Highway 58 from High Level to approximately 90 kilometres (west of High Level) from the junction with Range Road 45A remains closed.

Insurance information

  • Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
  • Most home and tenant’s insurance policies provide reasonable coverage for living expenses during an evacuation. Contact your insurance company for details.
  • Albertans who cannot remember or reach their insurance provider, can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at www.ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Justice and legal matters

  • High Level Court is closed. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 for inquiries on High Level Court matters scheduled for this week and next. All scheduled Fort Vermilion matters will be heard in Peace River. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 if you’re unable to register your name and phone number. Matters will be held by phone if necessary.
  • In many cases, tickets can be paid online. For any other inquiries requiring direction from the court about Peace River and Fort Vermilion court matters, call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256.
  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. If you do not know where the nearest one is, call 780-427-3109 (to call toll free, first dial 310-0000).
  • If you are an intermittent server in an evacuated area, call the Peace River Correctional Centre at 780-624-5480 (to call toll-free, first dial 310-0000) for direction.

Education

  • Grade 12 students in the High Level area are eligible for an exemption from their diploma exam. When a student is exempt from the diploma exam, their classroom mark will be their final mark.
  • These students could also write the exam if they choose to do so and can safely make it to a school, either in their community or another. Students can also defer writing the diploma exams to August.
  • For grades 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests, students can be excused from writing. Alternately, these students could write the tests if they can safely make it to a school, either in their community or another.
  • Once students and their families have made a decision, they should contact their school division.

Air quality

  • Much of northern Alberta is under a special air quality statement.
  • Alberta Wildfire recommends checking FireSmoke.ca to find out where the smoke is coming from.

Boil water advisory

  • Boil water advisories remain in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation), John D’Or Prairie, Fox Lake and North Tall Cree (Little Red River Cree Nation). Although power has been restored, the boil water advisories will remain in place until water testing is complete.

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.
  • Alberta Health Services is providing supports to the receptions centres. These supports include addiction and mental health, indigenous health liaisons, nursing, emergency medical services, public health, home care and more.

Pets and livestock

  • Animal Control are collecting household pets that have been left behind. Pets will be moved to a safe and secure location outside of the Town of High Level. Contact 780-926-2201.
  • Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock transport. Visit www.highlevel.ca for more information.

Donations and volunteers

Canada Post

  • Canada Post has suspended mail delivery services in the communities of High Level, Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Meander River, Chateh and Keg River.
  • Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Income Support, Alberta Supports and AISH

  • Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) or the Income Support program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in High Level, can visit their nearest Alberta Supports Centres Alberta Supports [www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx] to pick up their cheque.
  • If you are in La Crete, you can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, residents may contact 1-800-638-0715.
  • 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 nearest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance. You can find a list of Alberta Supports Centres online Alberta Supports www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or you can call the Alberta Supports contact Centre at 1-800-232-7215 provincewide between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday.
  • For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports at www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or call 1-877-644-9992, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card at no cost, you can contact 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.
  • If driver’s licences, ID cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent. A list of registry locations can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/registry-agents.aspx

Other information

  • Residents driving through the area should carry enough fuel as there may be shortages.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information.

Aerial footage of the northwest wildfires

  • B-roll of the Chuckegg Creek fire in northwest Alberta, taken Sunday, May 26, can be downloaded here.

Visit emergency.alberta.ca for detailed and frequently updated information.

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