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Fire in Alberta, CA sweeps across woodlandFire in Alberta, CA sweeps across woodland

Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada is monitoring the wildfire situation in northern Alberta, where 78 fires are burning—24 of them out of control.

“It’s too early to know what, if anything, we might be called on to do,” said Ross Penner, Director of Canadian Operations.

He went on to explain that if MDS was to become involved, it would be down the road six or more months once the extent of the damage and the scope of the recovery was known.

“Most frequently, our role is to come in during the last stage of recovery to help homeowners rebuild or repair their homes,” he said, noting that happens after insurance claims are made and settled and government disaster assistance has been accessed.

When it decides it has a role to play, MDS focuses on helping people who lack resources or who have challenges because of age, illness or disability.

“We will stay in touch with local disaster officials and others to see if there is something we can do,” Penner added.

According to Alberta Wildfire, which monitors the location and status of wildfires in the province, so far this year there have been 421 wildfires that have burned 410,000 hectares in Alberta. Over 17,000 Albertans have been evacuated or are under evacuation orders due to the fires.

MDS Canada is currently sending volunteers to Cape Breton, where it is repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Fiona in fall, 2022. More volunteers are needed there; contact Clara Flores at cflores@mds.org to sign up. Travel subsidies are available.

 

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications

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