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Slave Lake experience suggests fire cleanup to test Fort McMurray

One landfill facility received three years worth of waste after more than 400 buildings were gutted by the blaze five years ago


 

EDMONTON – Cleaning up after the Fort McMurray wildfire will test the city’s ability to handle everything from asbestos to rotting food and leave a lasting legacy of higher costs and dangerous residue.

That’s been the experience of Slave Lake after its own destructive fire five years ago.

Landfill manager Tom Moore says his facility received three years worth of waste after more than 400 buildings were gutted by the blaze that destroyed about one-third of the town.

The landfill had to cope with everything from contaminated ash to hundreds of refrigerators filled with decomposing food.

The dump had to expand, buy bigger equipment and double the amount of water testing it does — a permanent increase to its costs.

Moore says the impact of cleaning up in Fort McMurray is likely to be many times larger than what Slave Lake had to deal with.


 

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