The Town of High River is still under a state of emergency and a mandatory evacuation order is still in effect. It is not safe for residents to return home. More than 80 per cent of the town is without power and basic services, such as water and sewer, are not available.
“People must stay away,” says Mayor Emile Blokland. “We have hundreds of first responders in the Town of High River who are working incredibly hard to get our town back on line. This will take some time. I cannot stress this enough. This is the most water we have ever seen in our town and the cleanup is immense.”
Mayor Blokland noted that volunteers are not required at this time adding that it’s essential that first responders have the space they need to start the initial cleanup and assessment. Residents are not being allowed into the town and are asked to not park on the side of Highway 2; it is unsafe and vehicles will be towed.
The town and police have received a number of phone calls about pets. As first responders are going door-to-door, dogs are being taken from homes and being brought to shelters. Cats that have access to high ground are being fed and are given water. If you have a pet that you need rescued, you may call 403-603-0263 or you can text 403-880-4842. Please do not call the RCMP asking about your pet.
Official numbers to contact Emergency Evacuation Centres:
Blackie Rink - 403-351-1076
Nanton Rec Plex - 403-646-2961
High River Emergency Updates
Town Update – June 22, 12:50 p.m.
The Town is shutting off water service to the most severely affected homes. Crews are beginning in the SW and will move through town as access to those areas becomes available. Premier Redford, Health Minister Fred Horne, Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths and Senator Scott Tannas have toured High River. Premier Redford has indicated that the government will support High River as long as necessary.
The door to door search in the NW is approximately 80 % complete and teams will be moving to the SW area of town next. The advance team in the SW is almost done ensuring that it is secure for the door-to-door search and rescue. Fortis and Atco gas are accompanying crews. Fortis is assessing which houses can have power restored. For those that cannot they are leaving information for the homeowners when they are allowed to return.
There are three teams rescuing pets. Pets are being transported to two locations Heaven can Wait/Room to Roam; and Foothills Pet Resort/Cindy’s Pet Palace. PLEASE DO NOT CALL these locations. Each pet is being accompanied with the address and phone number that has been provided through your text messages and phone calls. They will call you as soon as possible when your pet arrives. The rescue is focusing on the most vulnerable pets, specifically dogs. They do not have the capacity to rescue exotic animals. However, they are leaving food and water. To request a pet rescue text: 403.880.4842 or call 403.603.0263
The Highwood Golf course lift station in the NW is working, the Ranchlands lift station which serves the downtown and half of the SE will only require minor repairs. Boiled water advisory is still in effect and will be for some time. The water plant is functioning at minimum capacity.
Sat, June 22, 1:57 p.m.
Only authorized personnel are being allowed into High River at this time. It is too dangerous to allow access to the public. All residents are told not to attempt to return to the town. Updates will be provided as information becomes available.
Fri, June 21, 7:53 p.m.
All stranded residents who have placed 911 calls are believed to be evacuated. Anyone still needing assistance should call 911.
The RCMP, with the assistance of the military, has begun door-to-door searches of homes to ensure that all residents have either evacuated or are safe. If the police come to your home, please respond to them, which will save them from forcing your door. The mandatory evacuation remains in effect. The Town is working to restore essential services, but this will take some time and everyone is asked to be patient.
ATCO crews will be accompanying the RCMP on their door-to-door searches and will be shutting off gas to each individual home if there are indications that the home has been compromised.
Emergency services are working to coordinate the rescue and transportation of pets that have been stranded in residents’ homes.
The security of residents’ homes and property is a high priority for the RCMP. There are check stops at all entrances to town, ensuring there is no public access. There will also be roaming officers patrolling the town.
Sewer service is still down, fresh water wells are being brought back on line slowly but supply is still limited. Telus has gained access to their building and is working to improve communications to the area.
The Foothills School Division will be closing all schools in its system for the remainder of the school year. They will, however, be providing students with an opportunity to write Diploma exams. More details at bit.ly/fsd38emergency.
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools will be closing its schools for the remainder of the year in the community of High River. More details at www.redeemer.ab.ca.
Evacuated residents continue to be accepted at Blackie Arena, Nanton Recreation Complex, and Heritage Heights School.