Reports say the fire that has now destroyed at least 40% of the town of Slave Lake began Saturday. Moving quickly with the aid of 100 km/hr winds, the fire jumped barriers, crossing the highway where it joined another fire. The only exit available to residents was the highway to Athabasca. Evacuees could find shelter in Athabasca and some came to Edmonton. The local high school, M.E. LaZerta, has been opened as a reception area for those displaced due to the fire. The premier of Alberta held a news conference asking for prayers for those who have lost their homes from this disaster. Premier Stelmach said this is the worst tragedy of its kind in Alberta's history. During the press conference he announced a toll-free number to call for information about the wild fire 310-4455.
Following are more links to footage taken of the Slave Lake and area fire.
To offer aid to those affected by this disaster, please call the Canadian Red Cross. Here is a statement released by Canadian Red Cross as posted on their site http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=39285&tid=001
Massive wildfires sweeping across parts of central and north-central Alberta have caused significant damage and forced the evacuation of dozens of communities, including the Town of Slave Lake and surrounding communities. Approximately 7,000 people have been forced from their homes and it is estimated that half of the town has been destroyed, including the police station and many homes.
Canadian Red Cross Disaster teams responded immediately, mobilizing personnel and emergency supplies including hundreds of cots, blankets and personal hygiene supplies to assist evacuated families. An emergency shelter and reception centre has been opened in Westlock, Alberta with additional operations established in the Town of High Prairie, Athabasca, and Edmonton, as multiple communities prepare to host families in need. The Canadian Red Cross is registering evacuees to help reconnect them with loved ones who may be looking for them and to refer them to other support and services they may need.
The fire continues to burn out of control and families in Alberta need immediate support.
How you can help
Canadians wishing to support the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Fires Response efforts are encouraged to contribute by calling 1-800-418-1111, donating through redcross.ca, or contacting their local Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Alberta Fires” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.
The Canadian Red Cross is currently responding to the Alberta Fires as well as in other communities across western Canada who are experiencing disasters. Donations made to the Western Canada Severe Weather Fund, in support of the Alberta Fires, will be used in Alberta. Should donations exceed the needs in Alberta, Red Cross will continue to support families experiencing disasters in other regions across Western Canada.
Posted: May 16, 2011"