Edmonton

Officials say precipitation would be big help in battling blaze

May Long weekend in Alberta is often spoiled by rain or snow but this year it's being welcomed with open arms.

Usual hopes for a sunny May Long Weekend change to prayers for rain or snow

Officials said the current weather is helping in the battle against the massive 500,000 hectare fire. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Evacuees staying in Edmonton were no doubt happy to wake up to a downpour Friday morning.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the same story in the Fort McMurray area.

"Even though we've had cooler weather, we've not seen significant rain on the fire yet at this time," said Alberta Wildfire Manager, Chad Morrison during a Friday morning update from the province.

"Hopefully, this weekend we'll see some much needed precipitation but until then, firefighters continue to dig in and hold the line around the community and protect critical infrastructure and values."

Still, officials said the current weather is helping in the battle against the massive 500,000 hectare fire.

Even though we've had cooler weather, we've not seen significant rain on the fire yet at this time.- Chad Morrison

"Cooler, damper temperatures have significantly improved both fire fighting conditions and air quality in the Fort Mac region," said Shane Schreiber, Managing Director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

"There have been no further impacts on the city, industrial facilitates or camps."

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for Fort McMurray and most surrounding areas but work continues to try to get the city livable again.

That includes assessing and repairing infrastructure related to electricity, gas, sewage and water.

Restoration work on the hospital is also scheduled to start Saturday — if the air quality is safe.

As for government-issued emergency relief debit cards, the Province indicates they will still be available for pick up at the Butterdome in Edmonton on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

After that they'll be available at Alberta Works offices as of Tuesday.

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