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Recovery progress and lessons learned implementation update

(Fort McMurray, AB – November 14, 2017) – As the region continues to recover from the 2016 wildfire, significant rebuild, restoration and mitigation progress continues to be made in alignment with the 2016 Wildfire Recovery Plan and the 14 recommendations found in the KPMG report, Lessons Learned and Recommendations from the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.

Of the 2579 dwelling units destroyed by the wildfire, almost 50 per cent have poured or are preparing to pour foundations, more than 33 per cent are nearly rebuilt and almost 10 per cent are fully rebuilt. Planning and Development has also approved building permits for more than 70 per cent of the primary structures destroyed by the wildfire.  

“The rebuild continues and many residents will be able to move into their new homes faster because of the incredible work being done in the region,” said Mayor Don Scott. “We are grateful for the hard work of everyone helping to rebuild the region in a safe, efficient and compliant manner, and remain committed to addressing KPMG’s 14 recommendations.”

Regional Emergency Services identified 67 action items to address KPMG’s recommendations and prioritized disaster risk management, operationalizing the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) and completing the Community Resiliency Strategy as primary action areas to be addressed. Furthermore, the RMWB’s Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) revision is expected to be complete in May 2018, at which time it will be available to the public.

“We expect the Community Resiliency Strategy and Municipal Emergency Management Plan to be completed in 2018, with the remaining action items being implemented over the coming years,” said Fire Chief Jody Butz. “We are committed to the long-term effort required to address KPMG’s recommendations in full, with a focus on preparedness.  This message of preparedness is resonating throughout the organization and we’re seeing that through increased participation in emergency management training.”  

Regional Emergency Services and the Recovery Task Force continue to collaborate to mitigate risks in the region. The most visible of these mitigation projects is FireSmart, where ongoing work continues across the region. The Wildfire Mitigation Strategy is nearing completion and fuel modification projects are underway to better address the threat of wildfire. 

The Recovery Task Force will continue to manage capital projects associated with recovery through the end of 2018, at which time remaining projects and staff will be reintegrated into municipal departments. The most-visible projects will be the completion of the Firebreak Rehabilitation and Trail Restoration project and repairing damaged municipal infrastructure, which includes repairing roads, sidewalks and right-of-ways in wildfire-affected neighbourhoods

Safety remains the top priority through the rebuild and residents are encouraged to report damaged infrastructure and/or possible hazards to PULSE at rmwb.ca/PULSE or 780-743-7000. 

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