Wildfire evacuees arrive in Edmonton

Those evacuating from Drayton Valley can head to Edmonton's Expo Centre. As Adam Ziccarelli reports, it was a smooth setup thanks to the experiences from the fires in 2016.

When they got the alert, evacuees from Drayton Valley made their way to the Edmonton Expo Centre early Friday morning.

Emergency teams had everything setup and were prepared because they learned from their experiences in 2016.

Going back and looking at what worked and what didn’t, they were able to set up in a timely fashion.

“We found out the flaws or the shortcomings that we did have. And we tried to build on those and incorporate better ways of thinking,” explained Gerry Clarke, Emergency Support Response Team Coordinator.

A steady stream of evacuees arrived early Friday morning, others arriving throughout the day, and some of them hadn’t had a meal since leaving.

Edmonton Expo Centre set up for wildfire evacuees. (Photo Credit: City of Edmonton)

“The short notice they’ve had. They just set it up beautifully for everybody,” said Liz Dack, a Drayton Valley evacuee.

Another evacuee, Mark Schuster saying, “The food’s been good. It’s been good. Good. I just got here myself. So I don’t really know the whole area.”

One of the main concerns for many residents was their pets. People leaving their homes with little to no supplies, but making sure to bring their furry friends with them to safety.

“The people that are staying here, there’s a separate room for the animals. I don’t know where it is, but they got a separate room and then the people sleep in one room in it, on cots, in another room,” said Dack.

And while setting up may have been smoother and more coordinated, the goal officials say is similar to any wildfire response.

“Get their mind off what has just happened and give them a chance maybe to put their head down on a pillow, get some food in their stomach, and maybe get some clean clothes on anything they need,” said Clarke.

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