Gateway Gazette

Update 5: Wood Buffalo wildfire recovery (July 11 at 2 pm)

Wildfire recovery efforts continue throughout the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. A state of local emergency remains in effect.

Environmental monitoring update

  • Soil analysis from burned areas in Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways is complete. No soil samples taken to date – in either burned or unburned areas – have been found to exceed human health guidelines.
  • Air and water samples are taken regularly, and results are acceptable.
  • A full breakdown of all monitoring programs (air, water, soil and ash), including maps of sample locations, is online.
  • Information about managing indoor air quality, including suggestions related to cleaning, filtration, and indoor air sampling is online.

Recovery Update

  • The regional municipality has released a demolition permit application package for residents looking to begin the demolition process.
  • A second round of tackifier was applied following sifting. This second application of tackifier is brown in colour. It is an environmentally safe, non-toxic compound that is commonly used in landfills.
  • The province has amended regulations under the New Home Buyer Protection Act and the Safety Codes Act to support and protect Wood Buffalo residents as theyrebuild their homes.
  • Government is working with child-care providers to help get their programs operational as quickly as possible once operators re-enter the community. Families who need child care should contact their providers to see when their programs will be available. The regional municipality has also compiled a list of child-care organizations and their opening dates.
  • Government is extending the deferral of repayment and interest-free period for student loan borrowers affected by the fire to March 1, 2017.
    • Student Aid Alberta will contact eligible student loan borrowers this July to make sure they are aware that the deferral is in place. The repayment and interest-free period extension is for Alberta student loans only.
  • Healthcare services have largely returned to normal. Please see the Alberta Health Services Wildfire Information webpage for the most up-to-date information.
  • A boil-water advisory remains in effect for: Abasand, Beacon Hill, Waterways, Gregoire Lake Provincial Park, Gregoire Lake Estates, Gregoire Lake First Nations truckfill, Anzac truckfill and community hall, and any other municipally connected plumbing systems not mentioned in the boil-water advisory lift areas. Please read the latest advisory from Alberta Health Services.
  • Ten agencies are serving as pickup points for Fort McMurray residents who need access to donations. Visit the Alberta Wildfire Donations Centre webpage for more information.
  • ATCO has re-lit 92 per cent of eligible buildings in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, with approximately 1,600 remaining.

Re-entry update

  • A total of 68,838 residents have visited information centres since re-entry began June 1.
  • A total of 47,771 wildfire relief debit cards have been distributed in Alberta, at a cost of $95.5 million. Financial relief for residents who evacuated out of province has reached more than $3.7 million.
  • The deadline of July 10 has passed for the pickup of wildfire relief funding in the form of a MoneyGram™. Wood Buffalo residents who remain out of province can reapply for debit card relief funding at a designated Alberta Works Centre when they return to Alberta.
  • Wildfire Emergency Temporary Accommodation (WETA) Benefits and Income Support Emergency Benefits have aided 5,760 households to date, for a total of $5.2 million.
  • To date, more than 76,745 calls have been made to the 310-4455 information line.

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