by Aaryn Lambert

    20 Alberta Wildfires Still Blazing

    While gains have been made in Fort McMurray and other regions of Northeastern Alberta there still remains an extremely volatile emergency situation in the region. 

The Fort McMurray wildfire is estimated to cover 576,781 hectares in Alberta and about 3,200 hectares in Saskatchewan. As of May 27th, there were 20 active wildfires in Alberta, with one fire still out of control.

    According to the Government of Alberta, “Working to combat the fires are:

    • 2,309 firefighters
    • 104 helicopters
    • 261 pieces of heavy equipment
    • and 24 air tankers.

    Wildfire crews from across the world are currently supporting the fires or they are en route to support – the efforts in Alberta. International efforts include:

    • 298 firefighters from South Africa
    • 198 firefighters from the United States
    • 111 firefighters from British Columbia
    • 85 firefighters from Ontario
    • 30 firefighters from Northwest Territories
    • 28 firefighters from Parks Canada
    • Seven firefighters from New Brunswick
    • Eight firefighters from Saskatchewan
    • Two firefighters from Manitoba
    • Three firefighters from Newfoundland/Prince Edward Island
    • Three firefighters from Nova Scotia

    With higher humidity in the forecast and the potential for showers, it is expected that firefighting conditions will improve through the weekend.

    Work is still on track to begin voluntary phased re-entry of residents on June 1. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Government of Alberta released a Re-entry Information Booklet to help plan a safe return to the community. Information centres will be set up throughout the region to offer support and resources for returning residents.

    Oil sands operations have begun a phased re-entry. Access to camp is preferred via air or bus transportation. Workers should contact their employers for details.

    Support for local businesses:

    The government intends to work with local suppliers for any recovery-related procurement under provincial jurisdiction, with a preference for competitive bids from local firms.

    A small business support centre is being set up in Fort McMurray to provide a space for businesses to get access to information on recovery-related contracts and workspace.

    Small business owners may voluntarily return on the scheduled re-entry date for their zone.”

    Learn more at Government of Alberta emergency website at emergency.alberta.ca.

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