Calgary

Calgary's Fort McMurray evacuee centres almost full

Calgary's emergency management chief is warning wildfire evacuees not to come to Calgary if they have room somewhere else, as they'll find themselves sleeping on cots in a gym.

Group accommodation next step as city's 4 evacuation centres house more than 2,000 displaced people

CEMA chief Tom Sampson says Fort McMurray evacuees should not come to Calgary with the expectation of private lodging, as the city's rooms fill up. (CBC)

Calgary's emergency management chief is warning wildfire evacuees not to come to Calgary if they have room somewhere else, as they'll find themselves sleeping on cots in a gym. 

The City of Calgary opened a fourth evacuation reception centre  at Mount Royal University on Monday for people forced from their homes in the Fort McMurray area, but it's already full. There is limited space at the University of Calgary, but that should be full sooon. 

Over 2,000 evacuees are now being housed at the University of Calgary, SAIT, Ambrose University and Mount Royal University, said Calgary Emergency Management Agency chief Tom Sampson.

He said the next step is group lodging, with as many as 100 beds set up in a gym or similar large space. 

"I would strongly encourage you, if you're an evacuee and you have a place to stay, stay there."

Sampson said the group lodging would likely be at the University of Calgary or Mount Royal.
About 100 City of Calgary workers, including 911 operators, firefighters and roads crews, headed to Fort McMurray on Monday to help with the fire emergency. (City of Calgary)

He also stressed that donations of goods are not needed at this time.

"Our reception centres are equipped with almost everything that we need. We don't need you to drop donations off there in terms of goods," he said. 

"If you choose to make donations, unfortunately the only real thing that can be handled right now is cash."

Many city attractions — such as the zoo, the science centre and various recreation centres — are offering free admission to northern evacuees.

About 100 City of Calgary employees — including firefighters, transit drivers, roads workers, 911 operators — boarded a plane Monday morning to fly to Fort McMurray to help with emergency operations.

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