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Alberta

Update 8: Northwest Alberta wildfire (May 29 at 6 p.m.)

Published

May 29, 2019 

Wildfire battles continues as re-entry planning moves forward. To date, the province has provided more than $6 million in one-time, emergency support payments to evacuees.

Current situation

  • 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 more than 150,000 hectares.
  • Resources on the ground include about 390 wildland firefighters and staff, 28 helicopters and heavy equipment.
  • Cabinet approved two orders in council to release funds to cover emergency response including structural firefighting efforts, evacuation costs, reception centre costs, and recovery costs as well as fire prevention, suppression, reclamation and reforestation costs.
  • Parts of northern Alberta remain under a special air quality advisory.
  • New mandatory evacuations have been issued for:
    • La Crete Ferry Campground
    • Steen River
    • Hawk Hills
    • Keg River
    • Carcajou
    • Residents living between Township Road 922 and north to Northern Lights County.
  • Residents should check Alberta Emergency Alerts for details.
  • Officials are preparing for residents to re-enter High Level once public safety has been confirmed.
  • Visit emergency.alberta.ca for detailed and frequently updated information.

Financial supports

  • 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 are open:
    • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smart phone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
    • Apply inperson at any Alberta Supports Centre in Alberta.
    • Evacuees in La Crete and Fort Vermillion can apply in person at La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete) or Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
    • If you require assistance registering, call 310-4455
    • If you’re having technical issues, contact My Alberta Digital ID at 1-844-643-2789 (Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Reception and call centres

  • Reception centres are open at:
    • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue NE)
    • High Prairie Gordon Buchanan Centre (5413 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)
    • Dene Wellness Centre (In K’atl’ Odeeche First Nation, 17 kilometres east of Hay River)
  • Hours of operation for evacuation reception centres can be found at emergency.alberta.ca.
  • 310-4455 call centre hours are extended until Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Highway closures

  • Highway 35 is open between High Level and the Zama City turnoff. Travel is not permitted north of the Zama City turnoff.
  • Highway 35 is closed between approximately five km south of High Level and five km north of Highway 695 (Keg River turnoff). Access to Keg River remains open.
  • Highway 697 is closed between Highway 35 and Range Road 185, east of the La Crete Ferry.
  • The La Crete Ferry is closed.
  • Northbound travelers from the Peace River area should detour using Highway 986 to Highway 88.
  • Highway 58 remains closed between High Level and approximately 90 km west, at the junction of Range Road 45A (south of Chateh).
  • To stay informed on all road closure info visit 511.Alberta.ca  or download the mobile app.

Insurance information

  • 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 askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Justice and legal matters

  • Sittings scheduled for Wabasca Desmarais Court on Thursday, May 30 will be heard in High Prairie Court. 
  • High Level Court is closed. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 for inquiries on High Level Court matters scheduled for this week and next. All scheduled Fort Vermilion matters will be heard in Peace River. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 if you’re unable to register your name and phone number. Matters will be held by phone if necessary.
  • In many cases, tickets can be paid online. For any other inquiries requiring direction from the court about Peace River and Fort Vermilion court matters, call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256.
  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. If you do not know where the nearest one is, call 780-427-3109 (to call toll free, first dial 310-0000).
  • If you are an intermittent server in an evacuated area, call the Peace River Correctional Centre at 780-624-5480 (to call toll-free, first dial 310-0000) for direction.

Education

  • Grade 12 students in the High Level area are eligible for an exemption from their diploma exam. When a student is exempt from the diploma exam, their classroom mark will be their final mark.
  • These students could also write the exam if they choose to do so and can safely make it to a school, either in their community or another. Students can also defer writing the diploma exams to August.
  • For grades 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests, students can be excused from writing. Alternately, these students could write the tests if they can safely make it to a school, either in their community or another.
  • Once students and their families have made a decision, they should contact their school division.

Air quality

  • Much of northern Alberta is under a special air quality statement.
  • Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility.
  • Alberta Wildfire recommends checking FireSmoke.ca to find out where the smoke is coming from.

Boil water advisory

  • Boil water advisories remain in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation)  and North Tall Cree (Little Red River Cree Nation). Although power has been restored, the boil water advisories will remain in place until water testing is complete.

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.
  • Alberta Health Services is providing supports to the receptions centres. These supports include addiction and mental health, indigenous health liaisons, nursing, emergency medical services, public health, home care and more.

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. Contact 780-926-2201.
  • Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock transport. Visit highlevel.ca for more information.

Donations and volunteers

Canada Post

  • 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 Centre 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 at 1-800-232-7215 province-wide between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday. 
  • For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports or call 1-877-644-9992, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

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 alberta.ca/registry-agents

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information.

Aerial footage of the northwest wildfires

  • B-roll of the Chuckegg Creek fire in northwest Alberta, taken Sunday, May 26, can be downloaded here.

Related information

Backgrounder: Previous updates

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Alberta

The old paving scam is back – don’t fall for it

Published

on

August 19, 2019

 

Alberta RCMP warns property owners of paving contractor scams

Edmonton—This summer, the Alberta RCMP has received reports of several incidents involving paving scams in Western Alberta. Travelling companies, posing as legitimate contractors, offer paving or sometimes roof sealing services typically to senior citizens in rural communities. These individuals have been known to provide few details of their identity and utilize non-descript vehicles rarely bearing commercial logos.

The Alberta RCMP urges property owners to beware of out-of-town companies offering such services. The contractors claim to have leftover asphalt from previous jobs and promise to provide quality services. However, the product used is believed to be cold, recycled asphalt or a gravel and oil mixture with no lasting properties. This results in the asphalt falling apart once it is driven on. By that time, these fraudsters are long gone, disappearing with their payment before the customer realizes they have been scammed.

We would like to remind residents to exercise caution when retaining contractor services and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Residents should be weary of any contractors who:

  • Come to your door saying they are working in the area offering a deal for leftover asphalt
  • Drive vehicles bearing no business names or logos
  • Pressure you into making a quick decision or refuse to take “no” for an answer
  • Ask for a down payment to buy materials
  • Refuse to give you a written quote with their business name, physical address and outlining the services they will provide prior to completing the work

Here a few tips to avoid falling prey to scammers:

  • Before agreeing to contract a person who comes to your door, get names of their previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work
  • Do some research on the company with either the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, with the Consumer Investigations Unit, with your local Rural Crime Watch or on social media site
  • Make sure to obtain a written quote from the contractor that includes the full business name, full address, phone number, GST number and provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable
  • Ensure the quote you receive gives details such as the quantity and specifies the quality of materials being offered
  • Obtain quotes from local supplier as a form of comparison

The Alberta RCMP is working with the Alberta Consumer Investigation Unit (CIU) to counter this trend. If you or anyone you know have any information on these companies, please contact the Consumer Investigations Unit – North (north of Ponoka) at 587-985-4735 or the Consumer Investigations Unit – South (south of Ponoka) at 403-803-8229.

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Alberta

Energy Companies calling on average Canadians to make oil and gas top of mind for federal politicians

Published

on

Three of Canada’s top energy sector leaders are asking average Canadians to boost Canada’s energy industry ahead of this fall’s federal election.  The Presidents of Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, and MEG Energy have penned an “Open Letter to Canadians” urging everyone to talk to federal candidates about supporting the energy sector.

The letter makes a simple assessment of the facts surrounding energy creation worldwide and asks Canadians to back our own companies as they attempt to lead the way toward “a lower carbon future”…

Open letter to Canadians from:

Tim McKay, Canadian Natural Resources Limited,

Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus Energy,

Derek Evans, MEG Energy

We have big decisions to make as a country, and there is an opportunity for each of you to influence the outcome.

Canadians want to know what the energy sector is doing to address the global climate change challenge while working to strengthen our economy.

As energy company leaders, we believe Canada is ideally positioned to do its part to both positively impact climate change and ensure a strong and vibrant economy for the future.

This is not an ‘either’ ‘or’ conversation, it’s an ‘and’ conversation.

The world needs more energy to sustain a growing global economy that is expected to lift three billion people out of poverty in the decades ahead. We need more wind, solar and hydro, but oil and natural gas remain a large part of the mix too. This is true in even the most optimistic scenarios for the worldwide adoption of renewable energy.

The world also needs to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  But shutting down Canada’s oil industry will have little impact on global targets.  In fact, it could have the opposite effect, with higher carbon fuels replacing our lower emissions products.

A healthy Canadian oil and natural gas industry is vital in leading the way to a lower carbon future.

Made-in-Canada technologies that reduce emissions at our oil and natural gas operations could be adapted for sharing with other industries worldwide.  We are already making meaningful progress developing those solutions.

We’ve reduced the emissions intensity in the oil sands by about 30% over the past two decades, and a number of oil sands operations are producing oil with a smaller greenhouse gas impact than the global average.  We’re working to get those numbers even lower.

And Canada’s energy companies are the country’s single largest investors in clean tech.  Through organizations such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) and the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) we are continuing to work on – and share – breakthrough technologies.

But we can’t do it alone.

And that’s why we are writing this letter.

As we head into the upcoming election, we are asking you to join us in urging Canada’s leaders of all political stripes to help our country thrive by supporting an innovative energy industry.  One that can contribute to solving the global climate change challenge and play a significant role in creating future energy solutions by developing our resources in the cleanest most responsible way possible today.

The choices we make will determine the quality of life we create for ourselves and future generations.  These choices will impact our ability to fund schools, hospitals, parks and the social programs that we as Canadians so deeply value.

This isn’t about any particular pipeline, policy or province. This is about the future of Canada.

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august, 2019

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