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Town Hall Summary June 6th

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7

Town Hall Summary June 6th

Fire Update

There was no significant growth in the Fort McMurray wildfire yesterday, and the fire is now nearly 70 per cent contained. It is estimated to cover

581,586 hectares, including the Saskatchewan side, with a perimeter estimate of 984 kilometres.

Crews have completed about 442 kilometres of dozer guard.

Extreme burning conditions still exist for some areas of the fire.

There are 2,794 firefighters and support staff, 147 helicopters, 16 tankers and 233 pieces of heavy equipment battling fires across the province.

There are 23 active wildfires in Alberta, with five out of control (one in Fort McMurray, three in the Slave Lake area and one in the Lac La Biche area, with no threats to municipalities).

Wildfire crews from around the world are supporting Alberta’s efforts, including 299 firefighters from South Africa and 41 from Mexico.

Environmental monitoring continues in the Fort McMurray region, including mobile air monitoring. Results of environmental testing data are now available online.

Hotspots are being managed in the Fort McMurray area. Anyone with information about new wildfires should call 1-866-394-3473. Reports of structural fires should be made to 911.

Re-entry Information

Re-entry continues and is going very smoothly, 30 – 35 thousand residents have returned to Fort McMurray.

Buses will start running from the International airport, and other areas of the city for free.

The Hospital is still on track to be fully functional by June 21st.

There has been no spike in patient care since re-entry has begun. In the last 24 hours there have been 240 mental health visits.

Family physicians and clinics will be opening as soons as possible.

If you see price gouging going on please take pictures of the adds, keep your receipts and call the Pulse Line 780-743-7000 to report. An investigation will take place and legal action will be done.

Re-entry to the restricted zones begins on Wednesday, if your home was lost or significantly damaged call the Pulse Line at 780-743-7000 to book an appointment with Team Rubicon to go through the debris. If your home remains structurally sound in the restricted areas, you do not need to book an appointment with team Rubicon, but you must wear the proper ppe in these zones.

For safety reasons you will not be able to look for anything that may have survived the fire, a representative of Team Rubicon will do so under your guidance. PPE will be provided to you, please wear pants and a long sleeve shirt.

Residents with the following medical conditions or situations should not return to the community until the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is fully operational:
– 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

Questions and Answers

Q – Are they working on restoring power in the damaged areas for those who’s housing are still standing?
A – Yes, ATCO is working on restoring power to the structurally sound homes for you to re-enter starting Wednesday June 8th, they want to make it as safe as possible for you while you visit your home.

Q – Why are the donation centres being closed across the province and Canada by the government, what happens to the donations?
A – Donations management and tracking plan is in place. The whole country and even people around the world have been very generous. They are making sure all the donations are monitored in Edmonton then coming up to Fort McMurray when needed. The Wood Buffalo Food Bank is almost up and running.

Q – What is the gas supply on Highway 63 and in Fort McMurray?
A – They are in constant contact with the gas stations along Highway 63 to insure enough stock is available. In Fort McMurray there currently 11 gas stations up and running with no reports of furl shortage at all.

Q – My home is still standing in the restricted areas, before we are able to move back in, will there be testing done in my home to insure no contaminants have entered my home?
A – Ongoing testing is being done in all areas of Fort McMurray, if your home is in the badly damaged areas or close to any areas affected by the fire, it will have a pink placard notifying you an inspection is needed, you can call The Pulse Line at 780-743-7000 to book your inspection.

Q – IF my home is still standing in the restricted zones, do I need help from Team Rubicon to enter my home?
A – no you do not, but you will need I.D. to get through the security gates into the zones, and wear proper ppe in the areas, which will be provided by Team Rubicon if you do not have any.

Q – Will Red Cross help me financially for my return to Fort McMurray?
A – For specific questions on transportation help from the Red Cross please call 1-888-539-6918.

Q – After June 15th when the information centres close, will the welcome kits, and cleaning kits, and information still be available?
A – Yes after June 15th the permanent info centre will be at the Future Forward building on Franklin Ave across from the courthouse, all the services offered at the info centres now will be available there.

Q – Where I am staying now will not be available after June, will it be safe to return with my children who have breathing problems after June 21st?
A – The hospital is on track to be fully functional by June 21st, air quality has been quite good over the last little while, and if any medical problems arise after June 21st then the hospital will be able to service.

Q – I have called the pulse line to book my appointment with Team Rubicon to go through the remains of my home, but I have no gotten a call back yet for my appointment.
A – Team Rubicon is attempting to do the sifting based on areas all at once so by street or area of the restricted zone, they are dealing with lots of phone calls and will get back to you with the date and time of your appointment as soon as they can.

Q – Can I enter my home that is still standing in the restricted zones after June 8th?
A – Yes, you are able to make more than one visit to your home, as long as it is structurally sound without an appointment. Make sure you have I.D. or proof of address and proper ppe.

Q – What do I do about the debris removal from my property in the affected areas if I do not have insurance?
A – The insurance companies are coordinating a debris removal effort to be done all at the same time, if you do not have insurance the information will be made available. A plan will be put in place for things that are not insured.

Q – When are fridges being picked up from the curbside?
A – Make sure you contact your insurance provider to see if they want you to replace your fridge, if so seal it and place on curb any day before 3 pm and it will be picked up.

Q – Will they be rebuilding in the badly damaged areas of Fort McMurray?
A – Mayor Melissa Blake has made it clear they want to make sure people can rebuild their homes in these areas as long as it is safe to do so. Any decision not to rebuild or to change the areas in anyway moving forward will be done with the help from the public. Many options are being considered and no decision has been made at this time.

Q – With donation centres closing, will we not be able to get help anymore if we need it?
A – There are still many ways to get the aid you need, lots of organizations continue to help evacuees, financial assistance based on need will be given by the Red Cross, talk to Alberta works if you are in need of income supplements or other types of financial aid.

Q – I still have not received the initial funding from the Red Cross.
A – They are currently going over information to make sure it is correct, and continue to do more mass e-transfers. They are sorry for the inconvenience and are doing everything they can to make sure all evacuees get the help.

Q – Are the food products sold in Fort McMurray safe?
A – All businesses are given a guide of what they must do to be able to reopen and serve the community once more. After they are done cleaning an inspection is done by Alberta Health Services to insure the safety of everyone. SO yes all food services opening are safe.

Q – Is the transit system operational?
A – There will be bus services running from the airport on a limited basis starting June 10th, and there are some taxis services up and running.

Q – When will Canada post be delivering mail in Fort McMurray again?
A – They are set to open store June 10th, for those who did not forward their mail, a backlog has been kept and will be made available to you after the 10th which you may need to pick up at a Canada Post location. More info to be released soon.

Q – When will those who have homes still standing in the restricted zones be allowed to return there to live?
A – Right now they are working on the re-entry phase, then will come the debris removal and rebuilding stages. No one will be allowed to return to live in these zones until after all the debris and hazards are removed. More information will be given when we move into the clean up phase.

Q – Will I be able to remove my vehicle from the restricted zones?
A – Yes, you will be able to drive your car out of the restricted zones, however they ask before you do to have a provincial inspection done on it, as there is no way to see if there was any damaged caused by the fire or smoke or ash just by looking at the images.

Q – When will we be able to return to our homes if we live in Wood Buffalo Housing?
A – Wood Buffalo Housing is working to get all of their properties safe and ready for you to return to they, will be posting a re-entry timeline on their website. http://www.wbhadc.ca/faq/ Do not return to your home as a renter until you have talked to your landlord and they have said it is ok to do so.

Q – What is the status of the cemetery in Abasand?
A – The cemetery is intact.

Q – Is June 8th the only day we are able to access our home in the restricted zones?
A – No, this is only the initial date you will be allowed to enter. You can return for multiple visit to remove your items from your home without an appointment if your home is structurally sound.

Q – I took my sealed fridge to the landfill and they refused to take it.
A – You must first contact your insurance provider to make sure they want you to throw out your fridge, if so you can place on your curb before 3pm and it will be picked up. If you plan to bring your fridge to the landfill you must empty its contents first.

Q – When will there be potable water in every area of Fort McMurray?
A – Crews have been working very hard to get the water system flushed and ready to use, they are ahead of schedule and should have potable water for the whole city in 10 days instead of the end of the month as previously estimated.

Q – How many people have returned to Fort McMurray so far?
A – It is estimated that 30 to 35 thousand people have returned to Fort McMurray

Q – Is there an estimated time of when it will be safe for those who shouldn’t return due to health reasons will be able to return to Fort McMurray?
A – After June 21st when the hospital is up and running to its full functionality, there will be help available if any health complications should arise upon your return. They ask for anyone with respiratory issues to continue monitoring the air quality before returning.

Q – Is there a business hotline to help with small businesses?
A – You can call the Pulse Line at 780-743-7000 or visit www.rmwb.ca for info on where to find help.

Q – Will property taxes be due at the end of June?
A – We are still waiting on the RMWB council to announce their decision on this matter.

Q – Will the air quality be ok in my home for those in my family who have respiratory issues?
A – Before they return you should make sure your the air in your home is ok, if it smells like smoke contact your insurance company to find out what they would like you to do. If you ever have specific medical questions you can call Health Link Alberta at 8-1-1

Q – Is it safe to use my dishwasher under the boil water advisory?
A – Yes it is as long as it has a hot setting, or you can add bleach during the rinse cycle.

Q – Is it safe for my children to play outside?
A – Yes, just keep an eye on air quality to make sure it is in a safe range under 3.

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