Rapid Response Teams Deploy Into Canada
The Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control affecting 94,000 local residents according to the latest report from the Alberta government. Fires have estimated to cover more than 566,188 hectares (1.4 million acres) in Alberta and about 3,200 hectares in Saskatchewan.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains from Canada and the United States are partnering in the effort. The group has deployed in coordination with Samaritan's Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization also headed by Franklin Graham. Together the two ministries will address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected.
Jack Munday, the international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, said, "The devastation caused by the Fort McMurray fire has resulted in more suffering than we can imagine. As the residents return, we need to pray for God's hope and comfort as they face intense grief in their loss."
The chaplains will maintain a presence in Fort McMurray as residents begin returning to the area on June 1. Many will be seeing what is left of their homes for the first time since hastily evacuating in the face of the enormous wildfire in early May.
The Wildfire Evacuee Transitional Accommodation benefit (WETA) is available to evacuees who do not have insurance or who have insufficient insurance to pay for temporary accommodation costs.
As of yesterday morning there are currently 20 actve wildfires in the region with a huge response effort underway. Wildfire crews from across Canada and as far as South Africa are currently supporting - or en route to support - the efforts in Alberta, including:
- 280 firefighters from South Africa
- 200 firefighters from the United States
- 113 firefighters from British Columbia
- 85 firefighters from Ontario
- 44 firefighters from Quebec
- 30 firefighters from Northwest Territories
- 22 firefighters from New Brunswick
- Eight firefighters from Parks Canada
- Six firefighters from Saskatchewan
- Three firefighters from Newfoundland/Prince Edward Island
- Three firefighters from Nova Scotia