Calgary opens wildfire evacuation centre at Stampede Grandstand

Alberta wildfire evacuees in need of accommodation will be offered help in Calgary. CityNews’ Danina Falkenberg has more on the City of Calgary’s wildfire evacuee reception centre and the fire crews that have been sent to help battle the fires.

The City of Calgary has opened an evacuation centre at the Stampede Grandstand which will provide support for those fleeing raging wildfires in the province.

Officials with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), the City and the Calgary Fire Department announced the plans in a conference Monday morning.

CEMA  chief Sue Henry says this emergency response is different than those they’ve been apart of in the past.

“We know that we’ve been apart of a lot of events within the City of Calgary, but this isn’t in our jurisdiction,” she explained. “So what’s important with that is we cannot and will not self deploy to communities, we have to wait for the order to move from our provincial counterparts or from other jurisdictions.

We’re continuing to provide support knowing that it’s really not our jurisdiction to be moving those resources.”

Evacuees can go to the new reception centre at the Grandstand in Stampede Park located at 2200 Stampede Trail SE to check-in, where cots will also be set up for the short term before evacuees are moved to hotels in the city. An emotional wellness response team will also be there to provide mental health support.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) chief Sue Henry speaks at a press conference announcing the opening of a wildfire evacuee reception centre in Calgary on May 8, 2023. (Photo Nick Blakeney/CityNews).

Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) chief Sue Henry speaks at a press conference announcing the opening of a wildfire evacuee reception centre in Calgary on May 8, 2023. (Photo Nick Blakeney/CityNews).

The centre will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice. Parking for evacuees is free.

Calgarians are asked not to bring donations to the reception centre, as officials are not equipped to manage them. People are encouraged to find reputable organizations and efforts to make donations towards via the province’s website.

Income support has also been made available to evacuees.– those in need of temporary income support can call the provincial emergency income support contact centre at 1-866-644-5135.

These announcements come as wildfires continue to wreak havoc throughout Alberta.

The province declared a state of emergency Saturday, as nearly 30,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. Most evacuees are from Edson, Evansburg, Drayton Valley, Fox Lake and Little Red River Cree Nation, while other residents in northern Alberta have been told to prepare to leave their homes on short notice.


As of Monday, there were 104 active wildfires across the province, including 29 that were considered out-of-control.

Officials say fire and smoke are making it difficult to provide accurate details about fire damage.

Alberta Wildfire says 375,000 hectares have burned so far this year.

Some parts of the province saw rain overnight, which officials said allowed firefighters to tackle some areas that hadn’t previously been covered due to the significant size of the fires and subsequent smoke.

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On Monday, the City said it deployed three fire engines and 27 firefighters to support firefighting efforts in the Grand Prairie area.

On Sunday, Canada Task Force 2 deployed 13 personnel to the Parkland County and High Level areas. Officials said they will be serving in various roles in the Emergency Operations Centre and Incident Command Posts.

Wildland firefighters have also arrived from Quebec and Ontario to help fight the blaze.

Amidst a 2023 election campaign, the leaders of Alberta’s two largest political parties have put their campaigns on pause in order to best support residents affected by the fires. UCP leader Danielle Smith and opposition leader Rachel Notley met Sunday morning to discuss the situation, with Notley offering advice and support from her experiences during the 2016 Fort McMurray fire.

Both leaders went to the Edmonton Expo Centre to meet with evacuees and Smith made a stop at the site of fires near Entwistle.

Smith is expected to have a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday before holding a press conference at 3 p.m.

-With files from Shilpa Downton

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