Stand with the people of Fort McMurray

Devastating forest fire raging in Fort McMurray and area

Wildfire is worsening along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. © CBC News / Reuters

Wildfire is worsening along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. © CBC News / Reuters

At 6:30 pm on May 3 a mandatory evacuation order was issued to the more than 80,000 residents of the city of Fort McMurray. The entire city is being evacuated as forest fires are devastating the area surrounding Fort McMurray. The fire has crossed the city limits. Latest media reports say that communities inside the city of Fort McMurray are in flames and that homes are burning in the centennial Trailer Park and the community of Abasand. This wildfire has forced the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history and is expected to get worse Wednesday, when winds are forecast to switch direction and increase in intensity, at speeds of 25 to 50 kilometres per hour.

The people of Fort McMurray are being evacuated to emergency centres including work camps, north of the city. Fort McMurray is the city closest to the Athabasca oil sands in northeastern Alberta, a city where the majority of workers work in the oil and gas sector, or sectors dependent on oil and gas production.

The Alberta Regional Committee of CPC(M-L) expresses sincere sympathy with the people of Fort McMurray facing the devastation of their communities in their city and possible further damage to their homes and hardship. We express solidarity with the fire fighters, pilots, all the emergency service workers and volunteers who are responding to this massive and destructive fire.

Premier Rachel Notley addressed the people of Alberta at a late afternoon news conference on Tuesday, May 3. The government is focusing on what is most important, she said.

“Our focus is completely and entirely right now on ensuring the safety of people. Of getting them out of the city and ensuring they’re safe and secure.”

She acknowledged the efforts of fire crews who are on the ground and in the air battling the flames.

“I want to thank the firefighters, the pilots, the volunteers, the emergency service workers who are working in an incredibly dedicated way under very difficult circumstances right now to support the community of Fort McMurray,” she said.

The hearts of all Albertans and indeed Canadians are with the people of Fort McMurray, Premier Notley said. She said the Alberta government has requested resources from all levels of government to fight the wildfire.

CPC (M-L)

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