By J.W. Schnarr
Southern Alberta Newspapers – Lethbridge
Southern Alberta first responders are answering the call and stand ready as wildfires have entered the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray.
A number of southern Alberta communities are on standby or are actively sending emergency workers to the city of Fort McMurray to assist the battle to contain a blaze that has caused more than 80,000 people to be ordered from their homes.
Taber town council called a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss the issue. The Taber Fire Department will send four firefighters and a wildland fire vehicle.
The Municipal District of Taber and Taber/Vauxhall RCMP will be sending Municipal Enhanced Policing Officer Cst. Melanie Schefter for a two-week period in order to assist with policing duties in Fort McMurray.
The Coaldale Fire Department is committed to contributing to the Provincial Operations Centre, and are currently on standby and waiting to hear if they will be needed.
Lethbridge County fire departments are on standby, and have forwarded a resource list including five emergency personnel, six public works personnel and one piece of equipment to the POC.
A crew of five firefighters, including MD of Willow Creek Emergency Services Manager Travis Coleman, left for Fort McMurray Wednesday night, according to their Facebook page.
A state of emergency has been declared by the Alberta government, and a mandatory evacuation order remains in effect and affects approximately 80,000 people.
More than 250 firefighters, helicopters, and air tankers are currently fighting the fire.