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 and Tall Cree First Nation at Beaver Ranch.
  • The ice jam in Fort McMurray on the Athabasca River has nearly reduced to half its size, now measuring 13 kilometres.
  • There is a new 24-kilometre ice jam on the Peace River, downstream of Garden River.

Evacuation orders

  • In the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, a mandatory evacuation order is in place for the entire community of Draper, Taiga Nova Eco-Industrial Park and the lower townsite of Fort McMurray, except for the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and Grayling Terrace. Access to the lower townsite is closed.
  • 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).
  • Little Red River Cree Nation issued an evacuation order on April 28 for Garden River.
  • As of April 29:
    • About 13,000 people from Fort McMurray were evacuated to hotels, work camp facilities and private accommodations.
    • About 455 people were evacuated from Fort Vermilion to hotels in High Level and private accommodations.
    • 749 people from Little Red River Cree Nation have been evacuated.

Information for evacuees

  • The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is asking evacuees to register even if they are staying in private accommodation.
  • The municipality is also 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.
  • 51 pet rescues have been performed in Fort McMurray.
  • 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.
  • Tallcree First Nation members are in direct contact with the Tribal Government.
  • Little Red River Cree Nation has established a reception centre at Garden River 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 up to 24 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.
  • At-home instruction for Fort McMurray students is cancelled for the remainder of the week by the public, Catholic and Francophone school authorities.
  • At-home instruction continues in Fort Vermilion.

Road closures

  • Highway 63 remains open at this time.
  • Highway 88 has reopened to one lane in each direction.
  • Please visit 511.alberta.ca for the latest information.

Health-related information

  • At this time, health-care services in Fort McMurray and Mackenzie County remain operational and are available to serve residents.
  • Alberta Health Services (AHS) remains committed to supporting each community’s health-care needs.
  • 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 staff are there to serve residents. Mandatory evacuation orders do not apply to the hospital, although areas around the facility are flooded. The facility is not experiencing any issues with staffing or supplies.
  • The hospital will have potable water by Friday and, following testing, will resume dialysis services on May 2.
  • No transfers of long-term care residents or acute care patients are planned.
  • AHS Public Health, Addiction and Mental Health, and Home Care staff are supporting Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo evacuees.

Gathering and physical distancing exemptions for Fort McMurray

  • Due to the emergency flooding situation, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has issued an exemption to the existing COVID-19 gathering restrictions and mandated physical distancing in outdoor spaces for the Fort McMurray area.
  • The safety of Albertans is our top priority and during emergency situations, communities need the ability to quickly and collectively respond as a community.
  • Personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, coveralls and hand sanitizer is being sent to both Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion.

Drinking water and wastewater facilities

  • Fort McMurray’s wastewater treatment plant has been evacuated, as the access road is flooded. It remains operational and is being monitored and operated remotely.
  • Boil water advisories remain in place for all of Fort McMurray, and rural hamlets of Anzac, Draper, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Saprae Creek Estates.
  • Fort Vermilion’s water treatment plant shut down on April 28.
  • A boil water advisory remains in effect for Fort Vermilion.
  • Water is currently being hauled from the La Crete distribution line in order to meet water demands within the Hamlet of Fort Vermilion.

River conditions – Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers

  • From its peak, water levels have dropped about 3.5 metres along the Athabasca River.
  • The ice at the toe of the Athabasca jam is expected to melt in place. There are no concerns regarding flooding as a result.
  • As of last evening, the jam at Fort McMurray has reduced to 13 kilometres in length.
  • From its peak, water levels on the Clearwater River dropped one metre.
  • Ice runs along the Clearwater River are expected to continue for the next few days. No flooding is expected as a result.

River conditions – Peace River

  • The ice jam downstream of Fort Vermilion near John D’Or Prairie released yesterday. The ice run caused flooding at Little Red River Cree Nation.
  • Water levels in Fort Vermilion have fallen to pre-breakup levels. However, flooded areas remain under water.
  • A 24-kilometre ice jam is impacting Garden River. The head is located at Garden River and extends downstream.  

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 1 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 at www.redcross.ca/in-your-community/alberta or at 1-800-418-1111
Salvation Army: Online at https://secure.salvationarmy.ca/registrant/DonationPage.aspx or at 1-800-725-2769.

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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