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Fort McMurray wildfire: update from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley

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DH Calgary Staff May 05, 2016 1:53 pm

The Government of Alberta along with Alberta Wildfire and Alberta Emergency Management gave an update on the Fort McMurray wildfire Thursday afternoon.

Premier Notley, Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfire, and Scott Long Executive Director of Provincial Operations from Alberta Emergency Management Agency all gave updates on the wildfire spreading across northern Alberta.

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The wildfire has now grown to 85 thousand hectares in size. The growth is mainly because of strong winds gusting up to 70 kilometres an hour on Wednesday night.

18 new fires are burning in the province, bringing the Alberta total up to 49 fires. 1000 firefighters are fighting the new starts.

The fire is expected to keep growing this afternoon and is moving in the south east direction due to wind coming in from the north west. This is away from Fort McMurray.

Right now the Province is working on moving the 25 thousand residents stationed north of Fort McMurray

  • In collaboration with the oil industry to do air evacuations from north of the city.
  • Trying to fly 8000 evacuees out of the area north of Fort McMurray today.
  • A mobile gas station will be sent to refuel people stuck north of Fort Mac in preparation for getting them out of there.
  • Plan is for remaining 12,000 to drive south as soon as ground movement officials say it’s safe to use highway 63.
  • There is no imminent threat to residents stationed north of Fort McMurray. The evacuation efforts are not due to lack of supplies but rather there are more facilities available for displaced residents in Edmonton.
  • The Edmonton reception centres will be main destination for people leaving the Fort McMurray area.

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An Alberta 511 Update says Highway 63 remains closed in both directions at Highway 69 (Airport Road) in Fort McMurray. Currently, there is no access to Ft. Mac.

Canada Task Force II set up in Fort McMurray to help with firefighting effort.

10 helicopters, and more than 16 air tankers will be in the air today.

2 incident management teams are en route to help with the fire in Fort Mac

77 more firefighters from around Alberta arrived to help crews and 100 firefighters are coming in from Ontario.

Fort McMurray airport will be used today to resupply fire crews.

Alberta Wildrose Leader, Brian Jean is from Fort McMurray and has been in the city helping with evactuation and relief efforts.

Watch the whole update below. (Starts at 44:50)

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DH Calgary Staff
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