Slave Lake and MD release detailed maps of wildfire damage

SLAVE LAKE, AB, May 19 /CNW/ - Detailed maps are being released today by the Town of Slave Lake and Municipal District of Lesser Slave River that give property owners specific information of the damage inflicted by wildfires on the weekend of May 14-15, 2011.

"This is a very emotional undertaking for everyone involved," said Slave Lake Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee. "I understand the anxiety residents have felt since being evacuated, not knowing if their home or business had been damaged or destroyed.  As heartbreaking as it might be for some, our residents need to know."

The maps were compiled by fire crews who performed a thorough 360 degree visual audit of every property. The process was meticulously checked and rechecked to ensure the accuracy of the information.

"These photographs show the ferocity of the wildfires and the extent of damage caused," Reeve Denny Garratt of the M.D. said. "But our people are true heroes, and Slave Lake and the MD are strong communities. For many, these photographs will also show that we can and will re-build."

In Slave Lake, a total of 374 lots were destroyed and a further 52 lots were damaged by the wildfires, which hit the area with 100 kilometre per hour winds amid a prolonged dry-spell that left forests in the area tinder dry. The most extensive damage to the town was to homes in communities in the southeast, and a section of downtown between Second and Fourth Avenues.

In the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River, 59 lots were destroyed and 32 damaged. Damage in the M.D. is centred in Poplar Lane, Poplar Estates, Widewater and Canyon Creek.

While residents and business owners will be able to make some future plans based on the information on the maps, it is not yet known when they will be able to return to the town and M.D.

"We need to ensure that infrastructure, such as electricity and natural gas, and most importantly potable water is in place before we can allow residents to return," Pillay-Kinnee added.

Work to restore water treatment and utility services began within days of the fire and continues.

"We share the pain of our neighbours who have lost their home or business," Garratt added.  "We stand with them in a commitment to re-build our community and make a bright future come true."

Copies of the maps have been posted at evacuation reception centres in Athabasca, Westlock, Edmonton, Wabasca, Smith and High Prairie, and may also be viewed online at www.alberta.ca.

SOURCE Town of Slave Lake

For further information:

Provincial Operations Centre
Communications
780-644-4862

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

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Town of Slave Lake

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