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RMWB Wildfire Recovery Information

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A statement from Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Scoble: As this community continues to deal with the aftermath of a devastating catastrophe, the municipality recognizes the pressure and hardship that residents are facing, particularly those who have lost homes. With an eye to the future, Administration is working as quickly as possible to create a safe, efficient and effective method of issuing demolition permits, which are required to undertake cleanup, hauling and disposal from fire-affected areas. In the face of the potential safety hazards and logistical challenges presented by the scale of the cleanup needed, we ask that the public continues to be patient while this method is developed. The lessons learned at Slave Lake have been very valuable in ...

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Alberta Health Services has confirmed that water quality for communities south and east of Beacon Hill Place has been restored to safe levels and as a result the boil water advisory has been lifted for the areas effective immediately. The boil water advisory has been lifted for the neighbourhoods of Gregoire, Mackenzie Park, Prairie Creek Residential, Saline Creek, Saline Plateau, Airport Lands, Saprae Creek Estates, and Spruce Valley Estates. This follows earlier announcements that the boil water advisory had been lifted for the Lower Townsite area, Grayling Terrace, Thickwood, Wood Buffalo, Dickinsfield, Timberlea, Stone Creek and Parsons Creek North. The boil water advisory remains in place for the following areas: Abasand Beacon Hill Waterways Gregoire Lake Provincial Park Gregoire Lake ...

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One-hour telephone town halls will be held every Monday in July (July 4, 11, 18, 25) at 7 p.m. MT. Mayor Melissa Blake, Council members of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, Regional Emergency Operations Centre and municipal staff, and representatives from partner organizations will be available to answer questions from residents. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions will be answered during the call. Residents whose questions remain unanswered are encouraged to call PULSE at 780-743-7000. Residents who registered with the Red Cross or who have a landline in the region can expect to receive a call at approximately 7 p.m. on July 4. Residents can listen to the live audio stream and submit questions ...

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Following the end of the Provincial State of Emergency tonight at midnight, the Municipality will initiate a State of Local Emergency, effective July 1. “The safety of our residents is the top priority for Council and this next step is being initiated to ensure the resources needed remain in place until the Recovery Committee is fully operational,” said Mayor Melissa Blake. The Regional Emergency Operations Centre will continue to support the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, the community, and Municipal operations as the recovery process moves forward.;

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A one-hour telephone town hall will be held on Monday, June 27, at 7 p.m. MT. "Council invites our residents, wherever they may be, to join us for our first telephone town hall this Monday evening," said Mayor Melissa Blake. “This is a great opportunity for residents to ask questions regarding the recovery process or any other issue or topic of importance to them – and we’ll be there to listen to them and provide the best answer possible.” Residents who registered with the Red Cross or who have a landline in the region can expect to receive a call at approximately 7 p.m. on June 27. Residents can also register to receive a call and ...

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The Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) is committed to ensuring that every resident will be given the opportunity to have their property sifted. “We acknowledge that the sifting program has not met residents’ expectations and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and frustration that this has caused,” said Bob Couture, Director of Emergency Management with the Regional Emergency Operations Centre. “We have identified the internal challenges that resulted in us missing appointments and failing to return calls, and have taken the necessary steps to rectify the situation.” The Municipality and REOC thank Team Rubicon for their support and generous efforts that resulted in approximately 700 properties being sifted to date; a REOC-led team will be continuing the property ...

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The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, thanks to the financial support of the Government of Alberta, is welcoming businesses back to the Wood Buffalo region with the new Back to Business Resource Centre. The Back to Business Resource Centre will act as a one-stop shop for businesses to access government, business planning and office resources assisting with their return to operations. “In the face of one of our country's worst natural disasters, Fort McMurray businesses are showing incredible resilience and taking the lead in rebuilding their city. We want to be there with owners and workers through the challenges ahead and this one-stop-shop will make it easier for them to get tools and support from local organizations who understand their ...

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The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo announced today that FuseSocial will lead the recovery volunteer management post-wildfire in Fort McMurray. FuseSocial is a local organization that facilitates connecting registered volunteers with social profit organizations or individuals in need of volunteer support. Individuals interested in volunteering to help with the recovery efforts, and organizations or individuals looking for volunteers, are encouraged to register via FuseSocial’s volunteer matching service at www.wbvolunteers.ca. Volunteers can create a profile where they identify their specific skills and the types of social profit organizations they would like the work with. Volunteers can also set up alerts to notify them when positions are posted within their areas of interest or specific skill set (e.g. wildfire ...

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The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) strongly encourages all Fort McMurray area homeowners whose houses were destroyed by fire during the wildfire to contact the RMWB PULSE line by Sunday, June 19, to request a site sifting appointment. Homeowners can schedule an appointment window by calling the 24-hour PULSE line at 780-743-7000 by Sunday, June 19. Sifting operations will continue until July 1, 2016. Sifting is available only for owners of fully burned homes and can potentially find items like jewelry or small heirlooms, particularly ceramics. Residents who are not able to attend their property visit can send someone in their place. A letter of permission and a copy of the homeowner’s proof of identification need to be provided ...

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Alberta Health Services has confirmed that water quality for communities north and west of Athabasca River has been restored to safe levels and as a result the boil water advisory has been lifted for the area effective immediately. The boil water advisory has been lifted for the neighbourhoods of Thickwood, Wood Buffalo, Dickinsfield, Timberlea, Parsons Creek North, Eagle Ridge, Stone Creek and the TaigaNova Eco-Industrial Park. This follows announcements on June 4 and June 10, 2016, that the boil water advisory had been lifted for the Lower Townsite area and Grayling Terrace. The boil water advisory remains in place for the following areas: Abasand Beacon Hill Waterways Gregoire Mackenzie Park Saline Creek Prairie Creek Saprae Creek Gregoire Lake Provincial Park ...

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In accordance with Section 19(1) of the Emergency Management Act (Alberta), the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) has implemented new operating procedures to ensure controlled access to the restricted areas of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways. The new rules are intended to help ensure that only residents and other approved individuals are in restricted areas. Residents will be provided a colour-coded wristband after they have proved residency in the restricted area with photo identification. The wristbands will provide streamlined access to the restricted area for future visits. Each restricted area will have a distinct colour: Abasand – orange wristband Beacon Hill – blue wristband Waterways – white wristband Click here for a map outlining the restricted areas. All other individuals ...

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A fire ban prohibiting all outside fires in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) has been lifted. Yesterday, the Ministry Agriculture and Forestry lifted the fire ban for the Fort McMurray Forest Area. Residents are asked to exercise caution. If you see any smoke or signs of a potential fire within the city of Fort McMurray, call 911. If you see a forest fire outside the city, call 310-FIRE. A fire permit is required for all burning. For information about fire permits within the Urban Service Area of Fort McMurray, visit the RMWB website at rmwb.ca/firepermitapp. To obtain a free permit outside of the Urban Service Area of Fort McMurray, contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry office ...

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The Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) is centralizing the way it collects "Offers of Resources" from local vendors, many of whom suffered significant loss of property and associated revenue during the wildfire. “The Municipality is committed to supporting local businesses, especially as we move into the recovery phase,” said Ted Zlotnik, Chief of Logistics, REOC. “These business owners are the backbone of our local economy, and together we will work to rebuild our community.” Mr. Zlotnik notes that the Municipality will endeavor to utilize local contractors where possible, however there may be circumstances where a vendor from outside the region is required. Local vendors are encouraged to submit an "Offer of Resource" form, which helps the Municipality better ...

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As residents visit their destroyed properties for viewing or for sifting led by Team Rubicon, they may notice some sections near or on their properties have been excavated or are in the process of being excavated. These excavations do not affect sifting efforts. Sifting is done within residential foundation walls and excavation is done outside residential foundation walls and on streets. This work is very important to ensure that storm, sewage and water services that have been compromised as a result of the fire are protected. This is to avoid the following situations: Precipitation carrying debris into the sewer trunks to potentially cause blockages in the sewer mains putting non-damaged structures at risk of flooding. Debris and other materials damaging ...

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The Municipality invites members of the public to attend tomorrow’s Council meeting. Residents will have the opportunity to be public delegates and ask questions of the regional Councillors for those items identified on the agenda. The agenda package can be viewed online. The Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Tomorrow’s Council meeting marks the first time Mayor and Council will meet at the Jubilee Centre Council Chamber, located at 9909 Franklin Avenue, since the mandatory evacuation. For more information about the Council meeting or to watch online, please visit rmwb.ca/council.

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Northern Lights Regional Health Centre (NLRHC) today announced it has begun to offer core health services in Fort McMurray. Core regional hospital healthcare services offered by NLRHC include: Medical and surgical inpatient Intensive care unit Operating room Obstetrical, pediatric and psychiatry services Starting June 21, all priority NLRHC health services are planned to be restored, including Ambulatory Care (Endoscopy and Exercise Stress Testing) and Dialysis services. Starting June 23, repatriation of NLRHC and Continuing/Long Term Care patients will begin. Alberta Health Services Recommendations AHS is recommending individuals delay returning to Fort McMurray until after June 20 if they: Require dialysis; Are receiving cancer treatments. If you are not sure or if you have further questions, please call Health Link (811). ...

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Northern Lights Regional Health Centre opens: Core services are now available at NLRHC, including medical and surgical inpatient, intensive care unit, operating room and obstetrical, pediatric and psychiatry services. All priority NLRHC health services will be restored by Tuesday, June 21. Deadline for Team Rubicon sifting appointments: Residents who need a property sifting appointment with Team Rubicon must apply by Sunday, June 19. MacDonald Island Park reopens: As of June 13, MacDonald Island Park has reopened to the public. They are providing two weeks of free programming to residents from June 13 to 26. SMS text message alerts for residents: Text “FORT” to 311 to sign up for time-sensitive text message updates to your mobile phone. UAV flights (e.g ...

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Transport Canada has restricted the airspace and prohibited the use of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) over Fort McMurray, and within five miles of the Fort McMurray International Airport. Now that Fort McMurray International Airport is open for commercial flights, this restriction is in place to prevent interference and collision between UAVs and manned aircraft during the re-entry and recovery period. Operation of UAVs, model aircraft and drones is prohibited until June 30, 2016. The restricted airspace extends from ground level up to 1000 feet. Only UAV operators specifically authorized by Transport Canada are permitted to fly within the restricted airspace. It is illegal and extremely dangerous to fly any type of UAV in restricted airspace without permission. Under the Aeronautics ...

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Beginning Monday, June 13, garbage and recycling collections will return to the normal collection schedule. Yard waste collection will also resume on Monday, June 13. Residents are asked to only use paper yard waste bags. If you have forgotten your collection day, or which recycling bin to put out, please go to the RMWB website, and type your address into the garbage and recycling schedule box. Additionally, the landfill public drop off facility is now open and is providing free disposal of residential waste brought by personal vehicles until June 30. For more information, please call the Environmental Services Department at 780-743-7947 or follow @RMWoodBuffalo on Twitter.

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A number of residents in Wood Buffalo are expected to make insurance claims for property loss over the coming months due to the wildfire. To make this process easier, the Municipality has established a new email system to request relevant property files. To process property loss claims, insurance adjusters will require approved property files and plans accessible through the Planning and Development Department. Property owners can request these property files and approved plans through the Planning and Development Department at property.inforequests@rmwb.ca. Request can also be made through an online form at www.rmwb.ca/property.info. Property Documents Residents can expect the following documents from their property file, if applicable: Real Property Reports Approved Building Plans Approved Development Permits ...

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Alberta Health Services has released updated information for family physicians that are in operation as of June 9 within Fort McMurray, including clinics that are accepting new patients. Future updates and wildfire resources from Alberta Health Services will be posted on www.ahs.ca/wildfire. See the June 9 list.

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Effective today, June 10, 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is offering a temporary transit schedule for residents following re-entry. This service will continue until further notice. The temporary transit schedule will be available seven days a week, and regular transit fares will be collected. The temporary transit schedule replaces the special Wood Buffalo Transit Route 21. There is no rural service at this time. Our Specialized Mobility Assistance Required Transportation (SMART) Service – an accessible, curb-to-curb service – will also be available to residents starting June 10, although this service will be operating on a reduced basis. For more information on the temporary transit schedule, please visit rmwb.ca/transit-schedule.

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Small Businesses in the Wood Buffalo region impacted by the fires will now have the opportunity to apply for some initial emergency financial relief. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and Economic Developers Alberta (EDA), thanks to financial support from the Canadian Red Cross, will be providing 1,000 to each small business that meets the eligibility criteria. “Our businesses are resilient, but the wildfires have affected our community profoundly,” said Mayor Melissa Blake. “We know that they need financial assistance as they begin working through the recovery process, and I encourage all small business owners in the municipality to apply for this support.” Financial relief for small business was identified as a key priority in the ...

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As the volume of residents visiting the Information Centres continues to decrease, the following Information Centres will be closing on the corresponding dates: Friday, June 10 at 8:00 p.m.: Holy Trinity High School Westwood High School/YMCA Sunday, June 12 at 8:00 p.m.: Fort McMurray Composite High School As of June 8, over 45,000 residents accessed the services and resources available at the Information Centres. Beginning Monday, June 13, residents are welcome to visit the Future Forward Building at 9717 Franklin Avenue during regular business hours from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday for long-term information needs.

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Beginning June 8, residents wishing to visit their properties inside the restricted areas of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways have daily access to these sites between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and are strongly encouraged to take necessary health and safety precautions. These precautions include: Stay behind the fence to view destroyed properties Follow the advice of Alberta Health Services (available at rmwb.ca/pvp) Where appropriate clothing (long sleeves, long pants, closed toe shoes) Obtain personal protective equipment from security on site (nitrile gloves and M95 masks) Residents who would like someone to safely access destroyed properties to sift for heirlooms and keepsakes on their behalf can request the services of Team Rubicon by calling the PULSE line ...

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Starting tomorrow, June 8, 2016, residents wishing to visit their properties inside the restricted areas of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways will have daily access to these sites between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, until further notice. Access will be available to residents, members of the Property Visit Team and accredited contractors accompanying residents. All visitors will be required to sign in and out at security gates, provide identification and wear appropriate clothing (long sleeves, long pants and closed toe shoes). Additional protective equipment (nitrile gloves and N95 masks) will be provided on site. Residents with destroyed homes who only wish to view their properties can do so. Residents who require Team Rubicon sifting services will be able to schedule ...

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Bob Couture, Director of Emergency Management, provided a media update Tuesday, June 7, in advance of Wednesday's property visit procedures for restricted areas damaged by the Fort McMurray wildfire You can listen to an audio replay of the conference call on YouTube.

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Due to lower volume of residents visiting the Oilsands Discovery Centre, the Information Centre will close at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 6. (Information Centres at Anzac Community Centre, Vista Ridge and Eagle Ridge Community Centre closed Saturday.) The following information Centres will continue to remain open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. until further notice. Composite High School Holy Trinity School Westwood High School Residents are welcome to visit any of the three Information Centres on a drop-in basis anytime. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will continue to keep residents informed about any changes regarding Information Centres.

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Now that the wildfire event has passed, it’s important that residents of Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray No. 468 First Nation and area campgrounds clean and test their water tanks. The Municipality strongly recommends that all residents and commercial properties using cisterns for drinking water drain, clean and disinfect their water tanks prior to use. The Municipality is here to assist with this process by offering advice on how to drain, clean and disinfect your cisterns. A pamphlet from Alberta Health Services explaining how to clean and test tanks was distributed to homes and campgrounds. Cleaning tanks following long periods of disuse, like the mandatory evacuation we recently went through, should be common practice. While all cisterns are private ...

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Changes at Information Centres Due to lower volumes than expected, some re-entry centres listed below have been closed. [Learn More] Archive Note: The information below is the original announcement regarding updates to Information Centre hours and locations. The seven Information Centres set up to assist residents during phased re-entry are experiencing a lower volume of residents visiting since they initially opened on June 1, 2016. As a result, the centres in Anzac Community Centre, Vista Ridge and Eagle Ridge Community Centre will close at 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. The following information Centres will continue to remain open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. until further notice. Fort McMurray Composite High School 9803 King Street, Fort ...

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A fire ban remains in effect for portions of northeastern Alberta and Fort McMurray Forest Area. The fire ban applies to Alberta’s Forest Protection Area in the Fort McMurray Forest Area and portions of the Lac La Biche Forest Area Forest Area and all counties, municipal districts and special areas, as well as provincial parks and recreation areas within those areas. Prohibited: All open fires, including wood campfires, charcoal briquette fires, turkey fryers, and tiki torches Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Restriction Recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) is restricted on all public lands and provincial parks within portions of northeastern Alberta, including designated OHV trails. The restriction does not apply to agriculture, public safety, commercial/industrial or Indigenous peoples when exercising a ...

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As the re-entry process continues, the Municipality has begun an assessment of municipal parks and outdoor recreation facilities. The Public Works Department has started opening parks and outdoor recreation facilities throughout the region for public use, including playgrounds, dog parks, boat launches and tennis courts. Crews have inspected, cleaned and repaired many outdoor recreation facilities, as required, to ensure safe conditions for public use. Any outdoor recreation facility that is deemed unsafe or is located in a restricted area is closed to the public and will remain closed and surrounded by fencing until further notice. Spray parks will remain closed until the boil water advisory has been lifted. In addition, a post-fire wildfire hazard assessment has been completed in unburned ...

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Mayor Melissa Blake, members of Council, and Bob Couture, Director of Emergency Management for the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC), participated in a media conference June 3 to provide updates on the re-entry of residents to the Fort McMurray area. You can listen to an audio replay of the event on YouTube.

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The Alberta government, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association have been testing and monitoring air, ash and water in the region. The monitoring will continue to ensure accurate and up-do-date information is available for residents. Detailed results of this monitoring is being posted on the Government of Alberta website.

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(Fort McMurray, AB – June 3, 2016) – A property visit program is in place for structurally sound homes in Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways and destroyed homes in all areas. Destroyed homes in all areas Visitation to destroyed homes outside of restricted areas begins June 5. Visitation to destroyed homes inside of restricted areas (Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways) begins June 8. Visitation is facilitated by Team Rubicon, a disaster response service. Residents must book visits by calling the Pulse line: 780-743-7000. For safety reasons, residents are not permitted to visit destroyed homes on their own Once on site, residents may instruct Team Rubicon where to sift on their behalf. For safety reasons, residents are not permitted into fenced ...

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Effective immediately, the Regional Emergency Operations Centre advises that all hotels, lease properties, work camps and rental accommodation operators must maintain the prices that were in effect on April 30, 2016. This will remain in effect under the Provincial State of Emergency declared on May 4, 2016. Those landlords and property owners that are charging prices above April 30 prices will be investigated and enforcement action will be taken. We will be monitoring this issue closely. We hope that the spirit of goodwill and co-operation associated with the lengthy evacuation will continue as we begin to rebuild our community. Residents with concerns about increases in the cost of services should contact the PULSE line at 1-780-743-7000.

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Bob Couture, the Director of Emergency Management (DEM), will be speaking directly to media on-site in Fort McMurray this afternoon. This is in regards to ensuring residents' safety and discouraging dangerous activity in an emergency situation. A media briefing call will be held at 3:15 p.m. MT today You can listen in to the briefing online by logging in and registering for the audio webcast in advance.

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The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has partnered with Impact Mobile Inc. to provide residents with time-sensitive text message alerts as they return to the municipality in the coming weeks, and as we continue to recover in the coming months. Residents can opt-in to receive these alerts by texting the keyword FORT to 311, (i.e. “FORT” as the message text, and 311 as the mobile #). Standard text rates may apply. If residents opt into this service and would like to stop receiving alerts, text STOP to 311.

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The media conference call originally scheduled for 1 p.m. today has been postponed until tomorrow, June 3. The municipality apologizes for the inconvenience. The media briefing will be held June 3 at 1 p.m. MT. Mayor Melissa Blake and Bob Couture, Director of Emergency Management for the Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC), will be available at that time. Media will be invited to attend at Fire Hall 5 (200 Airport Road). Stay tuned for updated information on how citizens can listen in online.

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Changes at Information Centres Due to lower volumes than expected, some re-entry centres listed below have been closed. [Learn More] Archive Note: The information below is the original announcement regarding Information Centre hours and locations. Heading back to Wood Buffalo? ALL of the following Information Centres are open to offer you supports and resources including housing options, clean-up kits, utility information, internet access, financial support, insurance information and representatives for public and mental health support and disaster registration services. All centres are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fort McMurray Composite High School 9803 King Street, Fort McMurray (Government of Alberta debit cards available here.) Westwood High School/YMCA 221 Tundra Drive, Fort McMurray (Main Centre #2) ...

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