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May 26, 2016
The beast continues to burn. After nearly a month of consuming everything in its path, the wildfire that attacked Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities, displacing tens of thousands of Albertans as well as visitors, and destroying human and animal homes alike continues its march across northern Alberta and into Saskatchewan. As of 1430 on May 24, the fire covers 522,892 hectares, including 2,496 hectares in Saskatchewan. That’s as big as nearly eight Edmontons.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters, along with 88 helicopters, 253 pieces of heavy equipment and 25 air tankers are currently battling the fire. While we understand a voluntary phased re-entry to Fort McMurray is forthcoming, Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation and Fort McKay First Nation remain under a mandatory evacuation order. For up-to-date info, click here. The Red Cross is working night and day to support the people affected by the wildfire and is coordinating the efforts of people who are looking to help.
All of this effort is critical in dealing with the immediate needs of the people displaced by this disaster. But we all know that the effects of this terrible event will last for years. Once the flames are finally extinguished and the firefighters can rest is when the work for the rest of us begins. That’s why the Building Trades of Alberta is creating a volunteer registry for when the time comes to rebuild Fort McMurray and her neighbouring communities. Fort McMurray has, over the years, been referred to as a “Union Town”. This is our opportunity to show Fort Mac what this towns unions look like, by standing up, standing together and working to rebuild this proud community.
The volunteer registry will form the core of manual support that the BTA and affiliated unions provide to communities affected by disasters like the one that is currently in progress, in addition to the millions of dollars collected and donated to the Red Cross by our members and Building Trades affiliates across Canada.
Do you want to pitch in when the time comes? Let us know. Please provide your name, Local and trade, along with how you think you would be able to help to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you name to the list of men and women that Alberta can count on to stand up when they are needed. As organizing efforts progress, we will be sure to keep you in the loop.