Evacuation orders issued for areas surrounding Fort McMurray due to Athabasca River flooding

A voluntary evacuation notice has been issued for the community of Draper, which sits just 12 kilometres south of Fort McMurray.

The notice was announced Sunday by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which said that the Athabasca River is “currently breaking and water levels are extremely high.”

The notice said that flooding is occurring in certain riverbank areas.

According to the municipality, around 215 people live in the Draper area, and the notice applies to the entire community.

The municipality also announced that a mandatory evacuation order was also in place for the Taiga Nova Eco-Industrial Park, an industrial complex located on the north end of Fort McMurray.

Evacuees should report to a drive-thru registration centre being set up at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre at 515 Mackenize Boulevard in Fort McMurray.

COVID-19 preventative measures and physical distancing rules have been put in place at the centre, which was closed to the public on March 17.

There are also buses being stationed on Draper Road near the entrance of the community should residents need transportation.

The notice also said that residents who live in the Lower Townsite neighbourhood of Fort McMurray should prepare a 72-hour emergency kit and stay alert.

All residents are advised to avoid river banks and shorelines, and to avoid stopping on the Athabasca River Bridge to watch the river.

For alerts, updates and more information, visit rmwb.ca/riverbreakup.

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