Some bad news for up to 2,000 evacuees from Fort McMurray. They’ve been told it could be the end of summer before they can go home due to toxic ash that coats their homes.
About 500 homes and apartment buildings are affected in the heavily damaged neighbourhoods of Beacon Hill, Waterways and Abasand.
Alberta Health Chief Medical Officer Karen Grimsrud says even when they’re allowed back in to assess the damage, it will be tightly monitored.
“The municipality will be making arrangements for the residents of these homes to have access to retrieve personal belongings as long as long as the home is structurally sound. The residents will need to be accompanied by municipal officials and will be required to wear personal protective equipment.”
While the first wave of evacuees is still set to return to their homes Wednesday, Premier Rachel Notley says the state of emeregncy for Fort McMurray will be extended until the end of June.
The hospital is now up and running and air quality is rated at 1.
Fences are up around some of the more dangerous areas in the city.
|Update from Alberta government, 7pm May 30th:
New information from the results of environmental testing and an analysis by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will delay permanent re-entry for some residents in neighbourhoods that were particularly hard hit by fire.
567 homes and 12 apartment complexes that have not been destroyed by fire are unsafe for habitation at this time.
“Despite this unwelcome news, we remain on track for voluntary, phased re-entry of the vast majority of Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities. The resilience and determination of the people of Fort McMurray continues to impress me every single day. I know that even in the face of this challenging and frustrating news, that they will remain strong, resilient, and together.”
Premier Rachel Notley
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Alberta Environment and Parks have each conducted air, soil and ash testing of the fire-damaged areas. These tests confirmed the presence of chemicals which may present a risk if exposure to residents is not avoided or minimized.
A non-toxic tackifier is being applied to debris in neighbourhoods destroyed by fire. Tackifiers are used in landfills for dust control and prevent ash and other contaminants from becoming airborne. This spray-on product will help minimize exposure to harmful substances through the air or skin contact, but will not eliminate them. Tackifier has no known harmful health effects and can be washed off easily.
Dr. Karen Grimsrud, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, travelled to Fort McMurray on May 28 and has outlined the following re-entry provisions based on the air, soil and ash testing results:
Abasand, Waterways, and Beacon Hill
Other Neighborhoods (including Rural Service Area)