Integra Air will have an airplane at the Canadian Rockies International Airport sometime Wednesday that will fly up locally donated items to Fort McMurray evacuees.
The plane is expected to land in Cranbrook between 7:15-7:30 subject to change based on weather conditions, according to the company. Integra Air is hoping to have the plane into Edmonton by later Wednesday evening.
Cranbrook residents can help out by donating items, new clothing such as socks, underwear, diapers, along with pillows, pet food and toiletries at the Manual Training School by the Cranbrook Public Library or directly at the airport. No liquids can be accepted.
A Jetstream 31 aircraft is currently tasked for Alberta fire fighting efforts, but after it’s finished it’s charter, it will taxi to the Canadian Rockies International Airport to fly donated supplies up to Fort McMurray.
“We’re going to taxi it over to Cranbrook empty and we’re going to take as many supplies as we can, fill the plane up, and bring it up to Edmonton,” said Kaitlyn Bumstead, with Integra Air. “Really, we’re looking for clothing, toiletries, gift cards, cash — anything. There’s going to be a representative at the airport supervising the donations.”
Integra Air is donating the cost of the flight and will deliver the donations to the Edmonton Emergency Relief Society at the Edmonton International Airport. From there, the items will be dispersed to locations housing evacuees.
Integra Air will post updates on their Facebook page.
If the Wednesday evening flight is unable to carry all the donated items from Cranbrook, there are two regularly scheduled flight from Cranbrook to Edmonton on Friday that can carry any remaining donations.
Bumstead acknowledge the outpouring of support from the Cranbrook community as donations rolled in throughout the day.
“It’s been overwhelming,” she said. “We’ve seen pictures of how the tables are looking with supplies in abundance. It’s been great. This is exactly what we wanted and we’re happy to connect Cranbrook up to the disaster.
“…We just really appreciate the help. We’ve had overwhelming support from the city of Cranbrook and we really appreciate it. I know the people affected by the fires will as well.”
Due to the evacuation and the emptying of the city, supplies can’t be flown directly into Fort McMurray.
“Yesterday, we offered to dispatch a plane up there [to Fort McMurray] to evacuate people,” said Bumstead. “The airport manager up there said it was a ghost town. It doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of people up there anymore. We figured with Edmonton being the next closest disaster relief centre, that it would be beneficial to send all donations there.”