- Alberta declared a provincial state of emergency on May 6 as the threat of wildfire spreads, with more than 100 active fires across the province and nearly 30,000 people evacuated from their homes and communities. Emergency responders continue to work to battle fires and keep people safe, and the province is receiving support from B.C., Ontario, and Quebec. A change in weather conditions on May 7 helped firefighters on the ground and had "an impact on fire behaviour," said Christie Tucker with Alberta Wildfire. The province says evacuees should register at local reception centres or emergencyregistration.alberta.ca. Up-to-date evacuation information is available at alberta.ca/emergency, Alberta Emergency Alert, or by calling 310-4455.
- Edmonton is supporting 1,500 evacuees at the Edmonton Expo Centre as wildfires, propelled by hot, dry conditions, continue to threaten communities across the province, including the nearby communities of Drayton Valley and Brazeau County. The city's reception centre is offering food, lodging, clothing, health care, and animal care for people forced to flee their homes. The Edmonton Humane Society is providing pet food and supplies, while the Jamie Platz Family YMCA and Castle Downs Family YMCA are offering free access to showers and recreation facilities. Alberta Health Services is providing mental health support and a pharmacist on site. The city is also warning about potential scams, advising residents to only provide personal information at the reception centre or through the provincial online registration system.
- Premier Danielle Smith, NDP Leader Rachel Notley, and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, along with other government officials, visited wildfire evacuees at the Edmonton Expo Centre on May 7. Evacuees who spoke to CTV News described feeling anxious and worried about what they would return to when the evacuation order is lifted. "People are feeling a little weary, nervous of when they're going to get back home," Smith said. The city said 37 people slept in the evacuation centre on the night of May 6, while the rest stayed in hotels with family.
- Due to the current wildfire risk, Alberta Health Services (AHS), along with EMS teams, have evacuated several healthcare sites, which so far include the Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre, Edson Healthcare Centre, Fox Creek Healthcare Centre, and High Prairie Health Complex. The affected acute care, long-term care, and continuing care patients are being relocated across the province to temporary locations, and AHS is working to identify additional staffing supports to prioritize patient safety. All lab services, mental health, and public health appointments in evacuated communities are being postponed.
- Several candidates from both the United Conservative Party (UCP) and the Alberta NDP have temporarily suspended their election campaigns due to the wildfires spreading through the province. Todd Loewen, the UCP candidate for Central Peace-Notley and the minister of Forestry, Parks and Tourism, announced he would suspend his campaign, along with Drayton Valley-Devon UCP candidate Andrew Boitchenko. The Alberta NDP announced that six of its campaigns have been impacted by the Alberta wildfires in ridings covered by evacuation orders. UCP Leader Danielle Smith said she has requested feedback from Elections Alberta on what to do if fires or floods impact a campaign, but said she was told it would be "very unusual to move election day" and that accommodations would be made in affected areas if necessary.
- Experts are warning against feeding and interacting with urban coyotes because it can lead to aggressive behaviour in the wild animals. City data shows reports of coyote sightings and aggressive behaviour have been increasing in the past two years. The act of feeding urban coyotes causes them to associate humans with food, approach them aggressively and sometimes attack, said Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta. In September 2022, the city euthanized a coyote that had been attacking dogs in the Mill Creek Ravine area.
- A rally in support of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls took place in Churchill Square on May 5 to mark Red Dress Day. The day began as the REDdress art installation and later became a grassroots movement across North America inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black.
- Chris Herd, a researcher and curator of the meteorite collection at the University of Alberta, is part of a team of scientists selecting 30 rock samples from Mars for NASA's Perseverance rover to gather to bring back to Earth. The samples may have organic matter that could prove the existence of life on Mars, and the collected data will fill the gaps in knowledge about Martian geology. The samples won't arrive on Earth for analysis until 2033. Before then, a special facility must be set up to safely house the samples. "It's absolutely phenomenal for me to be involved in such a huge mission," Herd said.
Headlines: May 8, 2023
By Mariam Ibrahim