May 24, 2019
From Government of Alberta:
Nearly 400 firefighters, 28 helicopters and eight air tankers continue to battle northwest Alberta wildfires. Evacuees can sign up for financial support Sunday.
- The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres southwest of the Town of High Level in Mackenzie County.
- This out-of-control wildfire has grown to almost 100,000 hectares.
- Resources on the ground include about 261 wildland firefighters, 154 structural fighters and staff on the ground, supported by 28 helicopters, eight air tankers and 46 pieces of heavy equipment.
- Continuing dry and windy conditions in most of Alberta have increased the danger of forest fires.
- Evacuation centres have registered approximately 3,700 people as of May 24 at 2 p.m.
- A voluntary evacuation is in place for Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and areas north of High Level.
- The province will provide one-time financial support to evacuees displaced by northwest wildfires.
- You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you were:
- living, working or vacationing in the affected area
- forced to leave due to an evacuation order
- paid for most of your costs to evacuate
- Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 for each adult and $500 for each dependent child.
- Applications will open:
- Online – starting Sunday, May 26 (Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to go through)
- In person at evacuation reception centres – starting Monday, May 27
- If you require assistance registering, call 310-4455
- Alberta Health Services evacuated 19 patients from the Manning Community Health Centre due to smoke from the wildfires.
- Detailed information is available on emergency.alberta.ca, which is updated frequently.
- Alberta Emergency Alerts has cancelled the High Level and Bushe River Reserve emergency alerts and have consolidated them into a larger Mackenzie County alert.
- Reception centres are open at:
- Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue)
- High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre (5409 49 Street)
- Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
- Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
- La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
- Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
- Hay River Dene Wellness Centre (In K’atl’ Odeeche First Nation, 17 kilometres east of Hay River)
- Highway 35 remains closed between five kilometres and 30 kilometres south of High Level. Highway 697 and the La Crete Ferry is identified as a detour. La Crete Ferry is operational with wait times of approximately one hour.
- Highway 58 from High Level to approximately 70 kilometres from the junction with Range Road 45A remains closed.
- Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
- Most home and tenant’s insurance policies provide reasonable coverage for living expenses during an evacuation. Contact your insurance company for details.
- Albertans who cannot remember or reach their insurance provider, can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at [email protected]. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at www.ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.
- Alberta Health Services has issued a special air quality statement.
- Alberta Wildfire recommends checking FireSmoke.ca to find out where the smoke is coming from.
- Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.
Pets and livestock
- Animal Control are collecting household pets that have been left behind. Pets will be moved to a safe and secure location outside of the Town of High Level. If you have left your household pet behind, please contact 780-926-2201.
- Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock. transport. Visit www.highlevel.ca for more information.
Donations and volunteers
- The towns of High Level and Slave Lake are not accepting material donations and do not require volunteers at this time.
- The Town of Slave Lake has set up an online form for offers http://www.slavelake.ca/FormCenter/Other-27/High-Level-Evacuation-Volunteer-Sign-Up-159.
- Check the Mackenzie County Facebook page for an up-to-date list of donations needed and drop-off locations.
- Canada Post has suspended mail delivery services in the communities of High Level, Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Meander River, Chateh and Keg River.
- Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.
- Check the Canada Post website for updates.
Income Support, Alberta Supports and AISH
- Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) or the Income Support program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in High Level, can visit their nearest Alberta Supports Centres Alberta Supports [www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx] to pick up their cheque.
- If you are in La Crete, you can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.
- For information on child intervention and child care, residents may contact 1-800-638-0715.
- If persons with developmental disabilities, their families or contracted service providers need human, financial, or in-kind assistance to connect with loved ones, find accommodations or provide assistance to individuals receiving PDD supports, please contact the nearest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance. You can find a list of Alberta Supports Centres online Alberta Supports www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or you can call the Alberta Supports contact Centre at 1-800-232-7215 provincewide between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports at www.alberta.ca/alberta-supports.aspx or call 1-877-644-9992, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate
- To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card at no cost, you can contact 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.
- If driver’s licences, ID cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent. A list of registry locations can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/registry-agents.aspx
- Residents driving through the area should carry enough fuel as there may be shortages.
- You can call 310-4455 for more information.
‘Even if no one is watching:’ Parade marshal named for cancelled Stampede
CALGARY — Filipe Masetti Leite has spent a lot of alone time in the saddle criss-crossing countries on horseback over the last eight years.
The latest journey for the long rider — from Anchorage, Alaska, to Calgary — will be bittersweet when he completes it in one month.
But he’ll have a new title.
Masetti Leite has been named the 2020 Calgary Stampede’s parade marshal, even though the event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masetti Leite was asked to take the job while still on his trek and before the health crisis shut down most of the world.
“To be named the Calgary Stampede parade marshal is the biggest honour of my life. I can’t wait to ride into Calgary on July 3, even if no one is watching,” Masetti Leite said in a news release.
“I’m finishing where I started. It’s a dream.”
Masetti Leite, 33, immigrated to Canada from Brazil when he was a teenager. In 2012, he began his first journey from Calgary and spent two years riding his two horses through 10 countries in North, Central and South America.
He covered about 16,000 kilometres before reaching his final destination: his home in Espirito Santo do Pinhal, Sao Paulo.
Masetti Leite, who has a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, began a second trip in 2016, which spanned 7,350 kilometres over 15 months and took him from Brazil to Patagonia.
His latest 3,500-kilometre trek from Alaska has him arriving in Calgary next month on the same day the Stampede was scheduled to begin.
Masetti Leite said he’s dedicating the remaining part of his ride to health-care workers around the world, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.
Despite the cancellation of this year’s edition of what is called the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” Stampede president Dana Peers said Masetti Leite was selected long before the world changed.
“The choice of Filipe Masetti Leite for the Calgary Stampede parade marshal has been many years in the making,” Peers said.
“He is proof Stampede parade marshals don’t just lead a parade; they exemplify western heritage, values and culture.”
A long rider is someone who has ridden more than 1,600 continuous kilometres on a single equestrian journey.
The inspiration for Masetti Leite came from a similar quest in 1925 by the original long rider, Aime Tschiffely, a Swiss school teacher, who rode 16,000 kilometres alone from Buenos Aires to New York City and wrote about his experiences.
Masetti Leite has documented his travels and written the book “Long Ride Home: Guts and Guns and Grizzlies, 800 Days Through the Americas in a Saddle.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020
— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Calgary couple stranded in India by COVID-19 pandemic killed: family
CALGARY — Family members say a Calgary couple stranded in India because of the COVID-19 pandemic were killed last weekend.
Kirpal Minhas, who was 67, and his wife Davinder, who was 65, were supposed to return the first week of April but their flight was cancelled.
Loved ones say the permanent residents were days from catching another flight to Canada when they were attacked in their home in the Punjab region on Saturday.
The couple’s son-in-law says local authorities told him three people overpowered the husband and stabbed him to death and that the wife was strangled.
Family say police have told them the caretaker of the home was arrested along with two other men, and that the motive was to get the couple’s money.
Global Affairs says it’s aware of the deaths, but cannot disclose any further information for privacy reasons. (CTV Calgary)
This report by The Canadian press was first published June 3, 2020
The Canadian Press
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