Town Hall Summary June 1st
Day 1 of the re-entry went very smoothly, thank you to everyone who returned today and follow instructions, took their time and did their part to make it a safe return for everyone.
Returning home to Fort McMurray could cause you to relive some of the moments from the evacuation, if you require mental health assistance there are Alberta Health Services reps at each information centre to help with whatever you may need. You can also call Health Link Alberta at 8-1-1 or the Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642.
The hospital will be fully open on June 21st, as of now the diagnostic imaging, lab services, EMS and the emergency room are all functioning.
Again children under the age of 7 should NOT return to Fort McMurray at this time along with people who:
Have A chronic or acute medical condition, like asthma
Requiring regular primary care, specialist care, laboratory, or diagnostic services
Requiring counselling or mental health services
More than 36 weeks pregnant or a high-risk pregnancy
Receiving cancer treatment, dialysis, or other specialized medical services
Requiring home care, home oxygen or home health supports
Recently discharged from hospital or had a transplant
The boil water advisory is still in effect, do not ingest the water without first boiling it. The water IS safe to bath in and wash clothes.
Please limit use of laundry machines, dishwashers and showers as to no overload the waste water system.
Air quality has been good over the next few days, it may continue to fluctuate.
A re-entry package will be at your door when you return, it has all the information you might need along with advice from the Red Cross and Alberta Health Services.
Please visit the information centre in your area to get all the information you might need for your area of town.
Before entering your home , make sure you talk to your insurance provider to find out what the procedure is, the may ask you take pictures for your claim.
Make sure you have all of the things you will need before returning to Fort McMurray, bring a 14 day supply of food, prescription drugs, water, gas etc, there are places open here but have limited resources.
Traffic on Highways 63 and 881 will continue to increase, before you travel look get info at Alberta 511 for the latest road reports.
Taxi services have resumed today, with more and more services coming online everyday.
There has been no cross contamination of chemicals and other hazards from the damaged areas of town into any other part of Fort McMurray.
Testing in all areas of town continues to be done of the air and soil, results will be made public soon.
If you are a renter make sure to contact your landlord before returning to make sure you can access your residence.
Please respect the re-entry schedule:
Zone 1: Lower Townsite, Anzac, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, Gregoire Lake Estates (June 1)
Zone 2: Parsons Creek, Stone Creek, Timberlea, Eagle Ridge, Dickensfield (June 2)
Zone 3: Thickwood, Wood Buffalo (June 3)
Zone 4(a): Gregoire, Prairie Creek, Saprae Creek Estates (June 3)
Zone 4(b): Grayling Terrace, Draper (June 4)
Questions and Answers
Q – Do I need to clean out my fridge before sealing it and placing at curb?
A – Most areas of town only lost power for a short period of time. You may only need to clean out the food from your fridge instead of replacing the whole unit. Open it and see if it has been damaged by liquid or odor, if it is seal it place it on your curb and it will be picked up part of the mass fridge and freezer cleanup efforts. Talk to you insurance provider on how to give them information of the food you have to throw out, as it is covered under your policy.
Q – I live in Wood Buffalo Housing, do you know if there will be a timeline released of when we are able to return to our units?
A – Wood Buffalo housing wants to make sure every unit is safe and secure for residents to return to, they have been conducting tests with results coming soon. When units are ready to be occupied information will be given.
Q – With the further delay or reentry to the badly damaged areas of town, will there be a plan to have the fridges and freezers removed from the homes still standing?
A – They are working on this plan right now along with plans to let people return to the homes that are still standing in these badly damaged zones. The plan will be released later tonight or tomorrow.
Q – Will we be given notice of the cleanup and removal of our homes that were destroyed?
A – It will take several weeks to remove all of the debris left by the fire when it is safe to do so, talk to your insurance provider to coordinate with them as nothing will be done to your property without your consent. As of now they are focused on the reentry phase, after this is complete plans will be made for the cleanup and then rebuilding stage.
Q – Will there be RV staging areas set up in Fort McMurray?
A – Yes, one of these areas will be in the Abraham neighbourhood, with others being planed, there are also RV campgrounds in the region still operational for you to use. The 2 weeks living restriction in an RV on your property is still in effect.
Q – When will I get access to my home that was destroyed in the fire to retrieve items?
A – It is too dangerous for you to return to your home due to chemicals and other hazardous materials. If you have something that may have survived the fire fill out an item retrieval request at rmwb.ca and they will send experts in with the proper training and ppe to retrieve your item if there is a high probability it was not destroyed.
Q – Will I still need to pay my property taxes at the end of June?
A – The RMWB is still discussing what to do about property taxes, more information to be released soon.
Q – I still have not received my email transfer from the Red Cross.
A – The Red Cross continues to send out email transfers of funds in chunks, with more happening today, if you have not received yours yet, please contact the Red Cross in a few days at redcross.ca or 1-888-350-6070.
Q – Will there be child care services available for reentry?
A – As of now there are none operating, plans are being made to have childcare facilities open as soon as possible
Q – What is the status of the fire?
A – The wildfire experienced minimal growth and is estimated to be 581,695 hectares in size, including in Saskatchewan. Crews and heavy equipment continued to make steady progress with over 400 kilometers of dozer guard completed.
Q – Are there tests being done on the air and soil of the unaffected areas of town?
A – Yes, tests continue to be done in all areas of town, there has been no evidence of cross contamination into any areas of town. Results of these tests will be made public soon.
Q – Is it safe for my two year old with a disability to return?
A – NO, there are two factors to look into when it comes to children under 7
1- the hospital will not be fully functional until at least June 21st
2- air quality continues to fluctuate make sure it is under 3 on the scale before bringing in young children.
Q – Will reentry being scheduled from 8 am to 8 pm will people who drive to Fort McMurray in the middle of the night be denied access to town?
A – No, the highway is open into town, they suggest you return to town during the hours of 8 am to 8 pm because they coincide with the operating hours of the information centres,
Q – Why is it safe for adults to return but not children?
A – They recommend not bringing kids back until thew hospital is able to offer all its care to the public. Adults’ lungs are fully developed and able to filter bad air as opposed to children who are still growing and developing.
Q – Where can I let people know I have rooms for them to use in my home?
A – Continue to use social media and add sites such as kijiji to get your accommodations known.
Q – Are there things being done to insure the safety of the zones currently uninhabited?
A – There are many RCMP officers in town doing roving patrols and check stops, answering calls, securing buildings making sure everything is safe. They answered three B & E calls today all were unfounded. They are here making sure everything is safe.
Q – How much of the tacifire application is complete?
A – Waterways is 100% complete, Abasand is 20-30 % complete, Beacon Hill is next. Also all the smaller areas damaged such as Stone Creek have all been sprayed.
Q – Do I need to cancel my utilities if I live in one of the inaccessible areas?
A – From the date of the mandatory evacuation all utility billings have been suspended, due to the further delay of reentering certain areas of town, contact Atco for specific information on your residents and what you should do.
Q – I lost my home on Drapper Raod, when can I go in and get my vehicle that is undamaged?
A – A plan for people to access these badly damaged areas is being worked on and should be released tonight or tomorrow.
Q – Are we allowed to refuse to return to work without getting fired?
A – due to the fact of the mandatory evacuation not being lifted until the hospital is at full operating status you are able to refuse to return to work. Talk to your employer and negotiate a return to work date.
Q – Was the Golden Eagle RV Park by the airport damaged? Will it be accessible?
A – There have been no reports of it sustaining any damage it should be open upon reentry.
Q – With the fire stating out relatively small, what happened to have it get to the massive state it’s in?
A – It was really the perfect storm, all of the conditions were exactly what a fire needed to grow and keep growing, it was extremely dry with very hot temperatures and high winds, plus the boreal Forrest all around provides it with constant fuel. All of the education and knowledge of fighting fires we have there is still situations like this that defy everything.
Q – Is there a list of childcare centres open in Fort McMurray?
A – As of now there are no childcare centres open, they are working to have these open soon.
Q – When will Information Centres be open till?
A – There are 8 information centres in town, the two main ones at Westwood and Composite high schools will remain open indefinitely to help
You can apply for wildfire relief funding from another province or territory from June 1 to 15, 2016.
If you miss the June 15 deadline, you are welcome to apply at a designated Alberta Works Centre when you return home to Alberta. There is no deadline to apply within Alberta.
What you MUST bring to apply:
Canadian Red Cross registration number. Register with the Canadian Red Cross by visiting their office or telephoning 1-888-350-6070.
Government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
Proof you resided in the Fort McMurray area at the time of evacuation (utility bill, car registration, insurance documents, pay stub, etc.)
Proof you left Alberta at the time of evacuation (plane ticket, hotel bill, gas receipt, etc.)
Proof of family relationships if applying for the entire household (health benefit card, birth certificates, passports, school documents, etc.)
Proof family members were living in the Fort McMurray area during the evacuation period, and left Alberta during that time (school registration records, plane or bus tickets and other travel receipts, etc.)