***Updated information as of 05.30.2016***
Victims of the Fort McMurray Fire can are expected to return to Fort McMurray as of June 1st and the last of the people should be back by June 15th; this according Alberta Government.Electricity has been restored to 90% of the community, including outlying areas and gas service has been restored to 78% of Fort McMurray. Boil water advisory is in place and will likely be removed by the end of June.
***The Fort McMurray wildfire is still out of control and estimated to be 579,946 hectares in size. It is now crossing over into Northern Saskatchewan. The fire has destroyed over 1,600 structures and displaced almost 90,000 people from their homes. Insurance losses for the fire are expected to exceed $9 billion dollars.
Warm temperatures, and an early spring were major contributing factors to the fire. Mike Flanagan a professor of Wildfires for the University of Alberta said that it is likely caused by man made factors. This is due to the proximity to Fort McMurray in which the fire started and the fact that their was no lighting. Also the combination of extremely warm spring with a very low humidity added to fuel of the fire. The boreal forest around Fort McMurray had dry forest floor that has made it easy for fires to start and spread quickly.
***Currently there are 2,292 firefighters, 90 helicopters (five heavy helicopters), 273 pieces of heavy equipment and 20 air tankers. Additional firefighters and various pieces of heavy equipment are expected to arrive over the next few days. There are fire fighters from around the world 298 from South Africa 199 from United States, 84 from Ontario, 7 from New Brunswick, 48 from Northwest Territories, 113 from British Columbia, 34 from Saskatchewan, 19 from Newfoundland and Labrador and PEI, 29 fromParks Canada, and 1 from Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
Donations have been pouring in to the Red Cross with both the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Alberta matching donations. As of May 6 2016 the Red Cross has received in excess of $30 million dollars in donations.
***Information will be updated as it comes***
By Grant Bachand (Twitter) @grantbachand