Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Striations in the ice jam caused by the piers of three bridges that cross the Athabasca River in Fort McMurray, Alta., is shown on April 28, 2020.

Greg Halinda/The Canadian Press

An ice jam on the Athabasca River is about half the size it was earlier this week when it caused major flooding in Fort McMurray and forced 13,000 people from their homes.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo says in a statement that the blockage was 13 kilometres in size Wednesday night, down from 25 kilometres two days before.

“Water levels on the Clearwater River, Athabasca River and Hangingstone River continue to fluctuate, but reports show the water level is down across all three rivers in Fort McMurray,” it said.

Story continues below advertisement

The flooding in Fort McMurray has led to a second state of local emergency on top of one declared last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fort McKay First Nation, about 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, has reported a death of a community member related to the flooding.

RCMP said in a news release late Wednesday that officers responded to a request to help two people stranded on the Athabasca River, northeast of the hamlet of Fort McKay.

They say two men were on ATVs on a trail when water levels surged and they ended up in the river. The men were able to hold on to a log until they could be rescued, said police.

Both were taken to hospital in Fort McMurray, but the older man died. Two women, two children and two dogs were also rescued from a nearby cabin and taken to safety.

“We are reminding the public to stay away from all bodies of water, especially during spring melt, as conditions can change and be unpredictable,” said acting Insp. Keith Horwood of the Wood Buffalo RCMP.

Farther north, another 450 residents from Fort Vermilion were evacuated earlier this week due to another ice jam on the Peace River.

Story continues below advertisement

“I am happy to announce water levels in the Peace River have receded by 2 1/2 meters,” Mackenzie County Reeve Josh Knelsen said Wednesday in a social media post. “The water levels upstream are dropping which indicated that the jam may have released.

“Water levels along the Peace River will remain high but it is unlikely that the river will spill over the bank again.”

Mr. Knelsen said crews have started cleanup efforts, including removal of ice from the road. But they don’t yet have a timeline for residents to return.

Wood Buffalo officials said they were also assessing damage from the flooding.

“There’s 1,230 impacted structures. At least, that’s the initial analysis,” Mayor Don Scott said Wednesday. “It’s a very significant amount of damage.”

He said that’s almost half the number of buildings and homes lost in a wildfire that forced the evacuation of the entire city in May 2016.

Story continues below advertisement

He said the extent of the damage in the floods in downtown Fort McMurray is still unknown.

Officials with the municipality are to hold a virtual community town hall for residents later Thursday. The public livestream is to provide an update on the river breakup and flood.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies