Update 14: Fort McMurray Wildfire (May 13 at 7 p.m.)

May 13, 2016

Today, Premier Notley delivered the following update on the wildfires around Fort McMurray:

“I thank all Canadians in every part of this country for their outpouring of support for the people of Fort McMurray. Your help, your donations and your prayers are profoundly meaningful to all of us in this very difficult time.”

Premier Rachel Notley

Current situation

  • There was no significant fire growth yesterday.
  • In order to reduce fuel buildup and prevent the spread of wildfires, fire operations in the form of a back burn are occurring along the west side of Highway 63. This is happening about 50 kilometres north of Mariana Lake to the Highway 881/63 junction.
  • There were four new fire starts overnight. A total of 17 wildfires are burning: one out of control, two being held, eight under control and six turned over to the responsible parties.
  • There are 1,714 firefighters, 123 helicopters, 226 pieces of heavy equipment and 26 air tankers currently battling the fires.
  • ATCO has about 300 workers in Fort McMurray, including teams of water specialists working with the municipality’s water experts to assess damage.
  • 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.

Additional updates

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 within 10 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 healthcare 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.

Edmonton area

Edmonton Butterdome, 114 Street – 87 Avenue (view map)

NAIT North Lobby, 11762 – 106 Street (view map)

  • May 14-19, 8 am – 8 pm
  • May 20, 8 am – 12 pm

Sherwood Park

Strathcona County Community Centre in Agora (opens May 14)
2001 Sherwood Drive, Sherwood Park (view map)

  • May 14, noon – 8 pm
  • May 15-19, 8 am – 8 pm
  • May 20, 8 am – 12 pm


McMahon Stadium, Red & White Club, 1833 Crowchild Trail NW (view map)

BMO Centre, Calgary Stampede Park, 20 Roundup Way SW (view map)

  • May 14-19, 8 am – 8 pm
  • May 20, 8 am – 12 pm

Lac La Biche (now open until May 15)

Bold Centre, Penalty Box Upstairs, 8702 – 91 Avenue (view map)

  • May 14, 8 am – 8 pm
  • May 15, 8 am – 5 pm

After May 20, emergency financial assistance will be moved 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 7,900 calls have come in.
  • $38 million has been distributed and 36,307 people have been helped as of 2 p.m. today.

Information for affected residents:

  • A telephone town hall has been scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for 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 via phone at 1-888-350-6070.

Evacuation information:

  • There are 16 reception centres operating within the province. Additional details are available on the Alberta government emergency updates website: www.alberta.ca/emergency.
  • Albertans can stay up-to-date on wildfire-related information by calling 310-4455 toll-free in Alberta or 1-844-406-3276toll-free outside 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.

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 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 kilometres south of Fort McMurray.
  • Any vehicles travelling into Fort McMurray must register for a permit at this traffic control point.
  • Hwy 881 remains closed to traffic in both directions from 500 meters east of the Hwy 63/Hwy 881 junction to just north of the Enbridge Cheechum facility at approximately kilometre marker 262 at the south end.

Abandoned vehicles:

  • Individuals forced to abandon their vehicles on Highway 63 south of Fort McMurray during the evacuation should call Highway 63 Towing & Recovery at 1-877-671-2717 to confirm if your vehicle is at the Wandering River yard, approximately 230 km north of Edmonton.
  • Anyone seeking to recover personal vehicles abandoned north of Fort McMurray or inside Fort McMurray is asked to continue waiting until recovery operations allow access to these areas. Your patience is greatly appreciated.
  • Some vehicles left on Hwy 63 on the shoulders or close to the roadway between Hwy 881 and Fort McKay north- and southbound have been towed by the Alberta Sheriffs. The vehicles were towed by Mobster Mechanical and Towing and taken to a municipal yard in Fort McMurray near the river. Please call 780-838-9595 to confirm if your vehicle is at the municipal yard.