State of Emergency Declared in Alberta as Wildfires Rage
The province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency after tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in recent days over spreading wildfires.
“Under the Emergency Management Act the declaration gives the government greater powers to respond to extreme situations for example the province can access emergency funds, mobilize additional supports and continue to work with municipalities, organizations and businesses to support affected residents,” Premier Danielle Smith said. “This is not a step that we took lightly but it’s the one that allows for the quickest and most effective response.” Smith added that the safety of Albertans is the most important thing. “The safety and well-being of those affected remains our top priority. We will keep Albertans informed as the situation changes through daily briefings from department officials.”
Christie Tucker, information unit manager at Alberta Wildfire, added that as of 5 p.m. Saturday there were 392 wildfires burning in the protected forest area of Alberta and 36 are considered out of control. More than 350 000 hectares have now burned since January 1 in Alberta.
At a news conference earlier Saturday, Smith stated the province had the resources needed to handle the situation. “I want to … assure everyone that our province has the right tools, the right technology and the right resources in place to tackle this challenge and people will get the supports that they need.”
Additional resources are coming from Quebec and Ontario.
RCMP have shared that an additional 150 officers are being deployed to aid problem areas. There are around 400 other officers currently helping with the wildfire efforts throughout the province.
The Alberta Government asks that all evacuees to register at a local registration center, which a list of centers can be found at alberta.ca/emergency or online.
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