Alberta state of emergency lifted – Wood Buffalo imposes their own

Alberta state of emergency lifted – Wood Buffalo imposes their own
Fort McMurray monitors ash content in air and soil while residents continue to return to their community.The Canadian Press / Jonathan Hayward.

The Provincial State of Emergency imposed because of the wildfire in northern Alberta is lifted, effective midnight, June 30.

Meanwhile the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is initiating a State of Local Emergency, effective July 1 as the wildfire recovery program continues.

A province-wide state of emergency has been declared only once before in Alberta – during the floods of 2013.

An Alberta government press release on June 30 states, “While Fort McMurray is still on the path toward recovery, our government is encouraged by the significant progress the community has made to date. We are confident that a Provincial State of Emergency is no longer required in order for the municipality to continue this important work. Alberta will continue to stand with the people of Fort McMurray as they rebuild their homes and community,” for Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The press release says the province is working with the regional municipality to protect the health of the community from the impact of the wildfire on air, soil and water quality. Monitoring programs are in place for air, water (both river and drinking water), soil and ash. Samples are being analysed and interpreted, and all information is being posted online: http://www.alberta.ca/environmental-monitoring-fort-mcmurray.cfm

Air and water samples are taken regularly, and results are acceptable.

There are no air quality advisories in place for the area. Real-time information on air quality is available at airquality.alberta.ca or download the AQHI app.  Full results from initial ash sampling (Phase 1) are available online.

The second round of ash sampling and the first round of soil sampling is complete (Phase 2). Results will be posted online once interpretation is finished, likely early July. Maps are being developed to show where sampling has taken place in the community. These maps will be posted online. Phase 3 soil sampling in the community will be done in public spaces after clean-up has occurred.

Fort McMurray recovery update:

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 operational.

Healthcare services are returning to normal operations. Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is providing full comprehensive health care services The temporary Fort McMurray Medical Centre at the Keyano Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre closed Tuesday, June 28. Most local doctor’s offices – including the Wood Buffalo PCN – are now open in Fort McMurray. Residents are encouraged to contact their family physician for routine healthcare needs.

A phased re-opening of the Fort McMurray Cancer Centre will begin July 11. More information will be shared in the coming days. For any questions or concerns, call Alberta Cancer Line at 1-888-432-8865.

The 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.

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 they rebuild their homes.

A donation strategy is in place to ensure the co-ordinated collection and distribution of donations for residents in Wood Buffalo. Albertans who want to donate items can call 310-4455 for instructions.

Volunteers are needed to help receive and sort items at the Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre in Edmonton. Volunteers must register online before volunteering.

ATCO has re-establish gas service in approximately 91 per cent of eligible buildings in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, with less than 2,000 remaining.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has opened the Back to Business Resource Centre: a one-stop shop for businesses to access government, business planning and office resources assisting with their return to operations. More information is available here.

Re-entry update:

A total of 65,329 residents have visited information centres since re-entry began June 1.

Information for residents returning to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is available at the Future Forward Building (9717 Franklin Avenue; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or by calling 310-4455 (1-844-406-3276 from out of province). A total of 47,119 wildfire relief debit cards have been distributed in Alberta, totalling $94.5 million. Financial relief for residents who evacuated out-of-province is nearly $3.7 millioWildfire relief funding debit cards are available at the Alberta Works Centre inside the Fort McMurray Provincial Building (9915 Franklin Ave; Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Wildfire Emergency Temporary Accommodation (WETA) Benefits and Income Support Emergency Benefits have aided 4,788 households to date, for a total of $4.3 million. The last day to pick up wildfire relief funding in the form of a MoneyGram™ is July 10. Recipients who have not already picked-up their payment have been emailed a reminder.  To date, more than 76,578 calls have been made to the 310-4455 information line.

The Canadian Red Cross has an office in Fort McMurray at 9816 Hardin Street. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays closed.

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