Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says officials can’t speculate on when it will be safe for people to return to Fort McMurray, but it will be more than a matter of days.
Notley told a news conference yesterday that even when the fire itself is brought under control, officials will still need to assess buildings and infrastructure.
She also promised that in coming days, there will be information for evacuees about government-issued cash cards and temporary housing.
She urged anyone who’s been displaced to register online or by phoning the Red Cross.
The Red Cross is taking donations for the victims of the Fort McMurray fire. There are several ways to donate.
There is an online form to make donations simpler.
You can also make a $5 donation by texting REDCROSS to 30333.
You can also call toll free: 1-800-418-1111
In the meantime, the wildfire in Alberta’s oilsands region has become so intense, it has spawned its own weather.
A spokesman for Alberta Forestry says the blaze was creating its own high winds on Wednesday, and even lightning was coming from the smoke clouds it created.
Chad Morrison says fire crews will not be able to stop the blaze, which has displaced more than 80-thousand people from Fort McMurray and nearby communities.
He says only “significant rain” can put an end to the disaster.
Analysts say the oil-production shutdowns caused by the huge Alberta wildfire could cause ripples across the entire Canadian economy.
One economist says past sudden shutdowns in the oilsands have echoed beyond the industry itself.
Robert Kavcic says a similar wildfire in Slave Lake in 2011 temporarily pulled the economy into negative territory.
The growing emergency near Fort McMurray has caused several oil companies to shut down operations that produce hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude each day. (1)