Alberta

Flood warning for Athabasca, Clearwater rivers at Fort McMurray no longer in effect

News Release

Update 6: 2020 spring flooding (May 3 at 2 p.m.)

The province continues to support flood response efforts in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Mackenzie County. Parts of Fort McMurray have reopened.

Current situation

  • Flooding, due to ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers in Fort McMurray and the Peace River in Mackenzie County, has led to evacuation orders for some residents of Fort McMurray, Fort Vermilion, Little Red River Cree Nation at Garden River and Tallcree First Nation at Beaver Ranch.
  • The flood warning for the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers at Fort McMurray is no longer in effect. An ice jam warning remains in effect on the Athabasca River from the Firebag River to the Peace Athabasca Delta.
  • The ice jam on the Clearwater River near Draper released on May 2; water from the Clearwater is flowing freely into the Athabasca River.
  • The River Forecast Centre does not expect additional flooding to occur on either river.
  • There is a new ice jam on the Peace River near Garden River.

Evacuation orders

  • In the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the mandatory evacuation order remains in place for the residents of Garden Lane in Draper.
  • The order for the remaining community of Draper was lifted on May 2. All other areas previously under order were allowed to return home on May 1; returning residents are being issued bottled water.
  • Approximately 3680 people whose homes were affected, including 19 residents of Draper, remain evacuated at this time.
  • Mackenzie County has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the residents within the Hamlet of Fort Vermilion that reside east of 50th Street, north of the golf course, River Road and Boreal Housing, and all of North Vermilion (Buttertown).
  • Re-entry planning for Fort Vermilion is underway.
  • Little Red River Cree Nation issued an evacuation order on April 28 for Garden River.
  • As of April 28:
    • Approximately 700 people in Little Red River Cree Nation have been evacuated.
    • About 505 people were evacuated from Fort Vermilion, Buttertown and rural Mackenzie County to hotels in High Level and private accommodations.

Information for evacuees

  • The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is asking evacuees to register directly with the Canadian Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582 (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. MT) in order to receive information on further assistance and support programs.
  • Canada Post has suspended all mail delivery to Fort McMurray. Residents can visit the link or call 1-866-607-6301 for updates.
  • Evacuees needing pet supplies are asked to contact the Fort McMurray SPCA at 780-742-8997.
  • In Mackenzie County, residents should register by calling 780-927-3718.
  • Little Red River Cree Nation has established a reception centre at John D’Or School.

Emergency evacuation payments

  • Residents of northern Alberta who were evacuated due to spring floods will receive funding of $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependent child.
  • Evacuees can apply for their emergency evacuation payments online beginning May 4, at noon. It can take 24-48 hours for funds to be e-transferred into bank accounts.
  • Information on the application process can be found at alberta.ca/emergency, starting May 4.

Education-related information

  • Two schools in Fort McMurray (Fort McMurray Composite High School and Father Turcotte School) and at least one school in Fort Vermilion (St. Mary’s Elementary School) are reportedly affected by floodwaters.
  • Damage will be assessed once floodwaters recede.

Health-related information

  • At this time, health-care services in Fort McMurray and Mackenzie County remain operational and are available to serve residents.
  • AHS resources are available to help 24-7:
    • Call Health Link at 811.
    • Contact the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322.
    • Contact the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.
    • For emergencies, call 911 or go directly to the emergency department.
  • Fort McMurray’s Northern Lights Regional Healthcare Centre remains operational and available to serve residents.
  • Dialysis patients continue to receive treatment in Lac La Biche and Edmonton until dialysis services resume at the hospital.
  • AHS continues to support Mackenzie County during planning for phased re-entry and the resumption of regular services in Fort Vermillion.

Drinking water and wastewater facilities

  • Boil water advisories remain in place for all of Fort McMurray, Fort Vermilion and rural hamlets of Anzac, Draper, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Saprae Creek Estates.

Flooding impacts

  • Water supply remains impacted in Fort Vermillion; the water treatment plant truck fill is closed. However, the rural truck fill is open in one truck fill lane.
  • Water supply for La Crete has been restored and the truck fill station is open.
  • Damage assessments have begun within the impacted communities:
    • 203 structures were impacted in Fort Vermillion; assessment has concluded.
    • 10 structures were impacted in Buttertown.
    • Two structures were impacted at Beaver Ranch.
  • In the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, assessment is ongoing, So far, approximately 1230 structures have been impacted.
  • Local roads are damaged on Little Red River Cree Nation; there are no reports of damage to structures.

River conditions – Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers

  • There are currently no ice jams in either the Athabasca or Clearwater Rivers.
  • The ice jam warning for Fort McMurray ended on May 2.
  • An ice jam watch is still in place along the Athabasca River from Firebag River (65 kilometres north of Fort McKay) to the Peace Athabasca Delta.

River conditions – Peace River

  • A new ice jam near Garden River is causing high water levels leading to flooding in the tributaries near the settlement.
  • There are series of ice runs along the Peace River, from Garden River to approximately 50 kilometres upstream of Peace Point.

Access to justice

  • Due to flooding, the Fort McMurray courthouse is closed until further notice.
  • All matters that were to be heard there from April 28 to May 4 will be heard at St. Albert provincial court.
  • For questions, contact St. Albert provincial court at 780-458-7305 or the contact centre at 1-855-738-4747.
  • Information on the status of court matters and services is available at albertacourts.ca.

How Albertans can help

While no flood-specific campaigns are currently underway, Albertans can make donations to humanitarian organizations that are assisting in flood-impacted communities.
Red Cross:  Online or at 1-800-418-1111

Salvation Army: Online or at 1-800-725-2769.
Samaritan’s Purse: Online

Albertans who live in affected areas should look for updates from their local government regarding evacuations and closures and download the Alberta Emergency Alert app. For the latest information on river conditions, visit rivers.alberta.ca or download the Alberta Rivers app.

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