Raw video from media tour of Slave Lake will be uploaded to www.globaltvedmonton.com as soon as it's available. Stay tuned to live blog for updates.
AUPE rallies behind fire-ravaged community of Slave Lake
Members of Alberta’s largest union are rallying behind victims of the destructive wildfire that swept through Slave Lake on Sunday.
“Thankfully, it appears no one was seriously injured, but this disaster is still devastating for thousands of people,” said AUPE president Guy Smith. “Our hearts go out to everyone in the community, especially those who’ve lost their homes.”
There are nearly 300 AUPE members in the Slave Lake area, including health care workers, forestry workers, school division and college employees, staff in government offices and others. They are integral to the wellbeing of the community.
AUPE members are also on the front lines, fighting to control the dozens of wildfires across the province.
“This is a time of unimaginable heartbreak and turmoil for the thousands of evacuees,” Smith said. “We can only hope that they can take some comfort in the knowledge that all Albertans are thinking of them.”
AUPE plans to help wherever it’s needed. Smith said the union’s Provincial Executive will monitor the situation to determine where that assistance will be most effective.
“Right now, the most important thing is to get the fire under control so people can start returning to the community,” he said. “Once the damage is assessed, we’ll see how we can best help the people of Slave Lake return to normal life.”
Still looking for viewer photos/videos of Slave Lake and other Alberta wildfires: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update from the Canadian Press: Police say nearly one-third of Slave Lake has been destroyed or has been damaged. Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee says the town's government building and library fell to the flames. She also says that contrary to earlier reports, the RCMP detachment and school are
Statement by Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith on Tragic Situation in Slave Lake
Calgary, AB (May 16, 2011): Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith today issued the following statement on the tragic situation in Slave Lake, Alberta:
“On behalf of Wildrose, I extend my sincerest condolences and sympathies to those affected by the devastating fires in the Slave Lake area.
“By all reports, the fire - which destroyed homes, businesses, churches, and other community facilities in Slave Lake - developed with little prior warning and engulfed the town in a matter of hours. This terrible situation reminds us all that even with careful planning and precaution, there are some things for which we cannot adequately prepare.
“Despite the severity of the fires, it is a blessing that there have been no serious injuries or loss of life. I urge the provincial government to take whatever action is necessary to help the people of Slave Lake recover from this terrible ordeal and to begin rebuilding their community.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Slave Lake during this very difficult time, as well as with the brave firefighters and emergency responders who acted with professionalism and heroism in service of their community.”
Wildrose stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.
Premier Stelmach statement on wildfire situation in Alberta
Edmonton... Premier Ed Stelmach issued the following statement on the evacuation of Slave Lake, and the ongoing wildfire situation in Alberta.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support being shown to the residents of Slave Lake following the devastating fire that forced the evacuation of the town, and I ask all Albertans and Canadians to keep the displaced residents in their thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time in their lives.
“Many hundreds of firefighters, police officers, emergency response personnel and others have worked tirelessly through the night to ensure Slave Lake was evacuated quickly and safely. We are grateful that there was no loss of life and only a few reports of minor injuries. I thank all the workers for their continued efforts fighting the fires, and for those assisting the evacuated residents.
“I have struck a task force of key governmental ministries and agencies to deal with the immediate needs of the community and develop a transition plan to continue to provide support services to the residents of Slave Lake over the coming days, weeks and months. I spoke earlier today to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has graciously offered whatever assistance we may require.
“The wildfire situation in Alberta remains extreme, and many of the devastating wildfires we are currently experiencing were caused by human carelessness. As we approach the Victoria Day long weekend, I urge all Albertans to follow all fire bans in place and keep our forests safe.
“I plan on travelling to Slave Lake later today to see the situation first-hand and offer my support to the emergency workers on scene.
“We are grateful for the generosity of the many neighbouring communities who have taken in and assisted the evacuated residents. At times like this, we see the true spirit of Albertans as we rally around the people of the Slave Lake region. I urge Albertans to continue to show their love and support. Together, we will get through this.”
Video of province's news conference will be available shortly at www.globaltvedmonton.com. Stay tuned for updates.
Global National's Jacques Bourbeau has spoken to MP John Baird, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who says Harper and Ottawa are ready to assist Alberta in any way possible.