As Fort McMurray burns, Alberta businesses step up
Around 1,600 structures have been lost to the fire, and officials say it is possible a substantial chunk of the city could be damaged
by Elizabeth Hames
Alberta’s business community is stepping up to help residents of Fort McMurray, offering fuel, food and lodging to those who were forced to flee as an intense wildfire bore down on the northern Alberta community.
As many as 80,000 people are on the move after the winds around Fort McMurray shifted, pushing a wildfire into municipal boundaries and prompting the largest evacuation in the history of the province. So far, 1,600 structures have been destroyed, and Scott Long with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency says it is a possibility a large portion of the city could be lost to the fire.
With so many people leaving the city yesterday, lineups quickly formed at the few gas stations between Fort McMurray and Edmonton, with reports of some customers waiting more than an hour for a fill-up. Many vehicles simply ran out of fuel as they waited in traffic jams on southbound highways, or when gas stations inevitably ran dry.
That prompted some companies to head north with trucks loaded with fuel for stranded drivers.
HHS Contracting is bringing fuel to drivers stranded en route from Fort McMurray.
— HHS Contracting Inc. (@hhscontracting) May 5, 2016
— HHS Contracting Inc. (@hhscontracting) May 4, 2016
AFD Petroleum also sent fuel trucks up to the fire zone this morning.
Oil sands operators such as Royal Dutch Shell Canada have opened their work camps to the roughly 10,000 people who were on the north side of the fire when the evacuation order was issued.
Albian Village now open to all evacuated #YMM residents who need a safe place to stay.
— Shell Canada (@Shell_Canada) May 4, 2016
Hotels are offering up rooms at reduced rates or at no charge. (Edmonton Economic Development Corporation has compiled a complete list.) Northlands in Edmonton has opened up space for evacuees. Airbnb has activated its disaster response tool to connect evacuees with homeowners offering up a free room.
Our thoughts are with Fort McMurray as they face a tragic wildfire. We have activated our Disaster Response Tool https://t.co/FB0a6DcrRf 1/2
— Airbnb Help (@AirbnbHelp) May 4, 2016
The fire moved quickly, and evacuees had little time to prepare. Many were only able to grab a few items before heading out on the road, and businesses have stepped in to offer free meals or other services. Here are a few of the businesses that have jumped in to help.
Alberta businesses offering support to Fort McMurray
Skyline Living is offering 60 units to evacuees.
— Skyline Living (@Skyline_Living) May 6, 2016
WestJet has been ferrying supplies into and evacuees out of the Fort McMurray area.
— WestJet (@WestJet) May 5, 2016
London Drugs is driving a trailer full of medical supplies and personal products to evacuees in need.
— London Drugs (@LondonDrugs) May 5, 2016
— London Drugs (@LondonDrugs) May 5, 2016
Federated Co-Op is donating $100,000 to relief efforts.
— Federated Co-op Ltd. (@CoopFCL) May 5, 2016
MKT Beer Market in Edmonton is donating $2 to relief efforts from every Wood Buffalo sold.
Starting Saturday $2 from every Wood Buffalo sold donated to relief efforts. Lots ordered so please come support! pic.twitter.com/JJg0I5JHIK
— MKTbeermarket (@MKTbeermarket) May 4, 2016
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce is collection donations directly through local chambers for a relief fund to support the Fort McMurray business community.
— Alberta Chambers (@albertachambers) May 4, 2016
Savvis in Edmonton is offering workspace and tech support to evacuees.
— Savvia (@savvia) May 5, 2016
Aurora Cannabis is donating $4 on every gram purchased to Red Cross.
— Aurora Cannabis Inc (@Aurora_MMJ) May 5, 2016
Maple’s Doghouse in Edmonton is welcoming pets of Fort McMurray.
Maple’s Doghouse would like to open our doors and hearts to the families that have had to evacuate their homes in… https://t.co/wIxvPgsKYZ
— Maple’s Doghouse (@MaplesDoghouse) May 4, 2016
West Edmonton Mall attractions are free for all Fort McMurray residents on May 5.
— West Edmonton Mall (@Official_WEM) May 5, 2016
Shell Canada is providing fuel to first responders and its emergency response teams are on the ground in Fort McMurray supporting fire crews.
— Shell Canada (@Shell_Canada) May 4, 2016
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 4, 2016
Suncor is donating $150,000 to the Red Cross and matching donations by employees.
We’ve activated our humanitarian grant program. Employee donations to the Red Cross will be matched by the Suncor Energy Foundation
— Suncor Energy Inc. (@suncorenergy) May 5, 2016
Edmonton-based web developer Tooq has built a website to connect evacuees in need of accommodation with volunteers offering up a bed.
— Brian MacKay (@Tooq) May 4, 2016
Central Social Hall in downtown Edmonton is offering a free meal to Fort McMurray residents until Sunday.
— Central Downtown (@CentralDTyeg) May 4, 2016
Stony Mountain Waste is providing bins at Anzac Recreation Centre.
— Stony Mountain Waste (@stonymtnwaste) May 4, 2016
Businesses can temporarily backup their servers for free through Cybera.
— Cybera (@cybera) May 4, 2016
Imperial Oil is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.
— Imperial Oil (@ImperialOil) May 4, 2016
Telus World of Science in Edmonton is offering free admission to evacuees.
— TWOSE (@TWoSEdm) May 4, 2016
Urban Vision in Edmonton is donating prescription glasses to those affected by the Fort McMurray fire.
— Urban Vision Canada (@UrbanVisionCan) May 4, 2016
Allstars Playland in Edmonton is providing free admission to Fort McMurray residents until Sunday, as well as free admission for those who make a cash donation to the Red Cross.
— Allstars Playland (@AllstarsYEG) May 4, 2016
Place for Your Stuff in St. Albert is providing free storage for evacuees.
— PlaceForYourStuff (@Place4yourstuff) May 4, 2016
Mainstreet Equity is offering the first three months free on 100 apartments to evacuees.
— Mainstreet Equity (@MEQ_IR) May 4, 2016
— Mainstreet Equity (@RentMainstreet) May 5, 2016
Telus is waving all additional cal and text charges for the next two weeks.
Fort Mac customers, stay safe & connected: we’re waiving all additional call & text charges through May 17 #YMMfire
— TELUS (@TELUS) May 4, 2016
ATB Financial will offer emergency overdraft protection, increased credit limits and loan payment deferrals to customers in need, depending on circumstances.
— atbfinancial (@atbfinancial) May 4, 2016
Servus Credit Union is donating $100,000 to the Red Cross.
— Servus Credit Union (@ServusCU) May 4, 2016
TD is also donating $100,000 to the Red Cross and offering advice and assistance to evacuees on deferrals, and relief on fees.
— TD (Canada) (@TD_Canada) May 4, 2016
Shaw Communications is opening up Shaw Go Wi-Fi to everyone north of Edmonton.
In order to assist with communications, we have opened Shaw Go WiFi to all residents north of Edmonton. Stay safe. #ymmfire
— Shaw Communications (@ShawInfo) May 4, 2016
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is offering free office space for businesses displaced by the fire.
— Edmonton Chamber (@EdmontonChamber) May 4, 2016
U-Haul offering 30 days of free storage to residents of Fort McMurray.
[URGENT] U-Haul offering 30 days free portable storage to #FortMcMurry #wildfire victims>> https://t.co/AHcsAaqE2a
— U-Haul Company (@uhaul) May 4, 2016
Fountain Tire at 8550 Yellowhead Trail in Edmonton is repairing tires of Fort McMurray residents for free.
— Brian (@EdmontonTireGuy) May 4, 2016
Moxie’s is donating free meals to Fort McMurray residents at its Edmonton restaurants.
— Moxie’s Grill & Bar (@Moxies_official) May 4, 2016
Albert’s Restaurant in Edmonton is serving free breakfast to Fort McMurray residents on Thursday, May 5.
— Albert’s Restaurant (@eggbert_alberts) May 4, 2016
Delux Burger Bar in Edmonton is serving free burgers and drinks to Fort McMurray residents.
— Delux Burger Bar (@DeluxBB) May 4, 2016
O’Byrnes Irish Pub in Edmonton is serving up free beer and/or food to evacuees.
Anyone coming in from Fort Mac needing a meal or a beer drop into O’Byrne’s Irish Pub. We are all here this… https://t.co/HBoFyB8QkV
— O’Byrne’s Irish Pub (@OByrnesIrishPub) May 4, 2016
The Pint in Edmonton is offering free meals to the people of Fort McMurray.
— Pint Edmonton (@pintedmonton) May 4, 2016
Kinnikinnick Foods in Edmonton says it will help people with food allergies get what they need.
— Kinnikinnick Foods (@GF_Insider) May 4, 2016
Earls is also offering free sandwiches to Fort McMurray residents at its Edmonton restaurants, and it is donating profits from steak sales to the Red Cross.
Those who present their gov’t issued ID w/ a Fort McMurray address can receive a sandwich + drink from any Earls Edmonton location #ymmfire
— Earls Restaurants (@earlsrestaurant) May 4, 2016
— Adrienne Pan (@adriennepancbc) May 5, 2016
Love Pizza in Edmonton is giving away pizza and drinks to Fort McMurray residents.
— LOVEPIZZA (@lovepizza_yeg) May 4, 2016
Naan-O-Licious is offering free biryani to Fort McMurray residents.
— NaanOLicious (@NaanOLicious) May 4, 2016
Boston Pizza on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton is serving free pizza to evacuees.
— Boston Pizza (@bpjasperave) May 4, 2016
Fiasco Gelato in Calgary is donating every dollar it makes on sales at its cafe today to the Red Cross.
— Fiasco Gelato (@fiascogelato) May 4, 2016
Champion Pet Foods has donated two pallets of dog and cat food to the Edmonton Humane Society.
— Champion Petfoods (@ChampionPetfood) May 4, 2016
Tiffurny’s pet store is offering free food for pets of Fort McMurray residents, and discounts on other items.
Irvings Farm Fresh has said it has space for RV as well as livestock.
— Irvings Farm Fresh (@IrvingsFarm) May 4, 2016
Pets Plus Us and HomeSafe are offering free access and a lifetime record on the HomeSafe system.
If you’re looking for a way to help, the Alberta government is urging Albertans to donate to the Red Cross.