Our neighbours to the north are enduring one of the most difficult challenges they're likely to face; dealing with the Fort McMurray wildfire. One of the largest Alberta fires in over 100 years, this tragedy has resulted in the evacuation of over 80,000 people in this Alberta oil town.
Since Tuesday, May 3, the fire has increased ten fold, currently about the size of Calgary, and it's still not known how the blaze started. 22 water bombers, dozens of helicopters, heavy equipment and over 250 firefighters have had little impact in containing the wildfire that has been fed by dry conditions, warm temperatures and high winds.
As the evacuation areas continue to spread, it's important for our neighbours to know they aren't alone. Cash donations and offers for aid have been pouring in. Individuals, companies, government agencies and the Red Cross have stepped in to help. Entire towns have banded together, such as Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, which underwent a similar devastation when a freight train exploded in their small town. The new Syrian residents are reacting with an Arabic appeal on Facebook and stepping up to donate whatever they can. Prime Minister Trudeau said the government will match Red Cross donations, dollar for dollar.
How Can You Help?
There are several places where you can make a personal donation, and Calgary has a constant flow of fundraisers put on by local bars, businesses and events. Here are a few advertised in the Calgary Herald and Globe and Mail:
>Billy Graham Evangelical Association
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association is readying its chaplains trained in trauma response to aid with people’s emotional and spiritual needs. The association is accepting donations online at billygraham.ca.
>Calgary Food Bank
The Calgary Food Bank is poised to help the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, and is accepting donations of bottled water or non-perishable foods, at 5000 11 St. S.E. If Calgarians prefer to send monetary donations, they can make them directly to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank by visiting its website.
>Canadian Red Cross
Money can be sent to the Canadian Red Cross by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by visiting the organization’s website at redcross.ca, where it has set up an Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal. People can also text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation.
Samaritan’s Purse will send volunteers and workers once the fire is under control and the evacuation order is lifted, assisting residents with recovering personal items, removing debris from properties, and home cleanup. Monetary donations can be made to the Samaritan’s Purse website at samaritanspurse.ca.
Tim Hortons is offering a special Alberta Rose doughnut, available at participating Alberta locations for a limited time beginning May 9, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross.
Local Calgary Businesses Accepting Donations
- London Drugs
- North Star Ford
Helpful Numbers to Track Fire and Evacuation Details
>To keep up with the latest details on mandatory evacuations, evacuation routes and where the shelters are, follow the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo ( @RMWoodBuffalo) for regular updates. There’s also @511Alberta for updates on road closings and restricted travel. You might also want to check out ymmfire.ca or the Fort McMurray evacuees’ open-source help page on Facebook.
>Here’s a live feed on Twitter of various emergency services, government agencies and @YMMHelp, a crowdsourced resource for evacuees and those offering them shelter - #ymmfire
>The Alberta Government is offering free replacement drivers licenses and and birth certificates
Ryan MacDonald, B.Sc. Real Estate Professional
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Top 1% Real Estate Professional in Calgary
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