EdmontonEdmonton news
Updated: Wed, 12 Jun 2013 00:44:43 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

State of emergency declared in Fort McMurray



State of emergency declared in Fort McMurray

The mayor of Fort McMurray declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday over flooding caused by Hangingstone River overrunning its banks and concerns that the Clearwater River will also flood.

"The state of local emergency is being declared for public safety reasons," Melissa Blake, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said at a council meeting Tuesday evening.

"The consequences of not evacuating residents from the flood zones are too high for us not to act on that immediately."

The Ptarmigan Court Trailer Park is now subject to a mandatory evacuation order, affecting 69 units. Residents can go to the reception centre at Frank Lacroix arena.

The situation will be monitored to determine if the Waterways and Draper areas should be evacuated as well. Emergency and municipal staff will go door to door to let people know if they need to leave, Blake said.

The flooding is the worst that residents have seen in years.

“They are levels that are the highest that they’ve ever been recorded,” said Darby Allen, fire chief of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. "It has caused flooding in areas that we’ve never seen before."

People in some neighbourhoods are under a boil water advisory.

There has been flood damage at a hardware store and the city's sports and wellness centre. Keyano College was also flooded early Tuesday morning when river water flowed straight down the road after storm sewers filled to capacity.

“We were actually initially sandbagging at that time but it became evident that there was so much water flowing, it was a losing battle," Allen said.

Everyone is watching the weather, said Brad Grainger, the region's deputy chief of operations.

"We're hoping for a little bit of a lull in the rain this afternoon," he said. "But our problem is that the weather forecast for the next three or four days is continued rain so that leaves us some concern for the rest of the week."

Police and the fire department are helping with the evacuations and officials are urging people to stay away from flooded areas.

Yesterday flooding temporarily closed Highways 63 and 881.

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