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Fort McMurray wildfire prompts provincial state of emergency

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DH Calgary Staff May 05, 2016 6:31 am

The past 36 hours for Fort McMurray residents has been heart wrenching. On Tuesday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued as a wildfire tore through the city.

Surprisingly, considering the large magnitude of the wildfire, no injuries or casualties have been reported. Houses and businesses however haven’t been so lucky and in some communities of up to 80% of infrastructure has been destroyed.

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Yesterday, the provincial government issued a release declaring a provincial state of emergency. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Forces to get help with air transportation as needed.

More than 250 fire fighters, helicopters, and air tankers are battling the fire. 29 Calgary firefighters headed to Fort McMurray last night.  The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation have both declared a State of Local Emergency.

An immediate and mandatory evacuation has been called for Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nations and the High Level area. A critical alert requesting the immediate evacuation of Lac Ste. Anne County residents as also been issued.

TELUS is supporting a text-to-donate campaign with the Red Cross. TELUS customers can text 45678 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross’ relief efforts. They will also be extending free calling and texting service in the area through May 17 and free calls from TELUS payphones to anywhere in Canada.

How you can help:

Canadian Red Cross

  • Text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation to the Canadian Red Cross or make a donation online

Housing

  • Go to YYMFire.ca to help pair Albertans with potential open homes, rental properties, recreational properties, and other available space to people in need of somewhere to stay.
  • If you have a place listed on Airbnb you can offer your space for free.

Donation of items

  • If you’re living in Edmonton you can head to Edmonton Emergency Relief Services office in downtown (10255 104th Street), to donate items. Specifically, they are collecting diapers, baby wipes, NEW toiletries (such as soap, shampoo, tampons, toothpaste etc.) and NEW socks and underwear.
  • The Edmonton Food Bank is accepting donations for those affected by the Fort McMurray fires.

Volunteering your time

Things to know for affected residents

  • Call Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070 to register your location
  • Airbnb is waiving all service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between May 03, 2016 and May 21, 2016.
  • TELUS is extending free calling and texting service in the area through May 17 and calls from TELUS payphones to anywhere in Canada.
  • Facebook has activated its safety-check feature for the Fort McMurray fire
  • A boil water advisory is in effect for camps within the region and for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
  • Retain all expense receipts for possible reimbursement from your insurer
  • Downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert and Alberta Wildfire apps will keep you up to date with the latest developments
  • An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for the Fort McMurray area

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DH Calgary Staff
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