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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier update regarding Alberta wildfires

  • "The easiest and fastest way people can be of service is donate to the Red Cross."
  • "This thing is going to get worse, before it gets better."
Webcam at Fort McMurray Airport (YMM) today from 12:41 pm - 5:41 pm 
images copyright Nav Canada

Chris Davis

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier spoke to me today via phone (while he was driving from situation to situation) about the Fort McMurray area wildfires and the response to the crisis so far.  This was after speaking in the Alberta Legislature about the crisis as both the Wildrose Municipal Affairs Critic and as a stand-in for Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who's own home in Fort McMurray was one of the many consumed by fire.  Stier also released a press release earlier today, which is reproduced entire following the article below. Stier wanted to emphasize that the best way for most Albertans to help at this time is with cash donations that can be applied as needed, rather than donations of used items etc.


As a disclaimer, my interview with MLA Stier was conducted at approximately 4:30 pm today, May 4, and as he was in transit at that time some of the information provided below may have changed due to the circumstances of the still unfolding situation.

"I am the Municipal Affairs Critic for the official opposition, speaking on behalf of our leader who was devastated yesterday with the loss of his house, He is up there in Fort McMurray trying to answer residents' concerns and doing what he can with the other MLA, Tany Yao of Fort McMurray - Wood Buffalo, both of them are up there. Mr. Jean is with his residents."

Stier said the Legislature was united in a desire to find solutions to the ongoing crisis.

"Today in the House, Minister Larivee (Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee) instead of Question Period provided an update on the critical situation that they are in there. Larivee gave a great outline of what was going on. Then I gave the response from the Official Opposition, on behalf of Mr. Jean."

"It's terrible."

"I also attended later on today an internal briefing between government officials, just for more details. It's pretty amazing how much effort is going into this. I think they will have about 400 firefighters in place working, as of tomorrow. All of the local communities are sending people, Willow Creek was mentioned, they already sent some people up."

"There's over 80,000 people who have been evacuated. They have asked all people to leave." 

"I don't recall an evacuation this large happening in my lifetime."

"Highway 63 is and was open as of 3:00 pm, they are allowing people to use it and get back through it to get where they need to go." Those on the north side must go north, those to the south must go south. "I know that divides the town in half, but there has been a bigger state of emergency in Lac St. Anne County too. They are going to be evacuated, I just heard. I just got word that there has been a fatality now, on Highway 881, which is a main corridor beyond 63.

"This thing is going to get worse, before it gets better."

"The speech I gave today was praising the first responders, praising the way the government departments are helping out, expressing a lot of admiration for the efforts so far. Everyone I know in Alberta are strong people. People want to help, we have a strong system, and we must have faith in our system and carry on."

Press release:

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier

The hearts of all Albertans are in Fort McMurray right now as the community deals with the devastating wildfires that are still ongoing.

Let me first offer my thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this tragic situation. We are closely monitoring the situation at the Legislature, and are standing by to assist in any way that we can.

Wildrose Leader and Fort McMurray – Conklin MLA Brian Jean, and MLA for Fort McMurray – Wood Buffalo Tany Yao are in Fort McMurray, and offering supports as the provincial representatives for the area.

Individuals have had to quickly flee their homes, and are moving either north or south from the city, looking for shelter and other resources.

Many of us are looking for ways to help, and to lend a helping hand to those who have been evacuated.

The very best way to offer assistance at this time is through cash donation.

Red Cross has set up a dedicated donation page at http://www.redcross.ca/ where money can be donated to those impacted by the wildfires.

You can also text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5 dollars.


Many local communities are also working on plans to accommodate evacuees, and provide them a place to sleep and food to eat.

I would encourage you to contact your local municipal offices to offer any assistance in your community.

Up to date information on the ongoing wildfire situation is also available athttp://emergencyalert.alberta.ca/.

As someone who lived through the devastating floods of 2005 and 2013 in southern Alberta, I can say with confidence that the best thing we can do is to monitor the news and follow the recommendations of emergency personnel, as needs for assistance and donations may change.

I would ask all Albertans to pray for the victims in this terrible tragedy and support all of our brave emergency service men and women on the front lines that are fighting to protect homes and save lives.

Yours truly,

Pat Stier
MLA for Livingstone – Macleod
Wildrose Shadow Municipal Affairs Minister

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