Premier Alison Redford visits Fort McMurray, Alta.
Residents still fear rain-saturated hill may slide into Hangingstone River
Premier Alison Redford visited the city Friday afternoon while hundreds of people prepared to spend the night away from their homes in Fort McMurray, Alta., as flooding fears continue and mandatory evacuation orders remain in place.
While there, she met with volunteers who are filling hundreds of sandbags to block the floodwater and toured the emergency operations centre where officials and engineers are co-ordinating their efforts.
"It was my first opportunity to get up to see what the impact of the water has been, what this flood is going to mean, and how we're going to be able to work together to make sure we can continue to ensure that everyone is safe in the community," she said.
Redford said the province is prepared to step in and help, but is waiting for the municipality to define exactly what assistance it needs in terms of cleanup and management.
Weekend forecast improving
Fort McMurray residents are looking to the sky with relief today after Environment Canada lifted its heavy rainfall warning for the area.
The forecast is now calling for 20 to 60 millimetres of rain by Sunday, rather than between 50 and 100 millimetres.
"That's good news for us today," said fire Chief Darby Allen. "We've had a busy time in the last 24 hours."
Still many residents remain worried that sections of Beacon Hill, which are saturated with rainwater, could slide into the Hangingstone River, damming the flow.
That would overwhelm sandbag dikes and flood hundreds of homes in the Grayling Terrace subdivision and at the south end of Draper Road.
A small portion of Beacon Hill slid into the river Thursday night, but did not affect the flow of the river.
Emergency officials are also concerned about the hill's stability.
The city has been trying to shore up the bank using large rocks or boulders, said Allen.
"The crews did a lot of work yesterday and we're currently starting along the section along Grayling to do the same work there to try and stop the river from damaging the river bank anymore," he said.
Right now, 437 people are under an evacuation order.
Earlier this week, residents of the Ptarmigan Trailer Court downstream from the subdivision were ordered to leave.
With files from CBC's John Archer