How you can help those affected by the Fort McMurray fire

You can donate, volunteer and offer accommodations.

A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., on Wednesday May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires. Unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions have transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP.

This post was originally published by Maclean’s

If you want to help the tens of thousands of evacuees fleeing Fort McMurray, be careful. Well-meaning people can fall prey to scams posing as donation sites, and even if you’re giving through organizations that are actually trying to help, some items may actually do more harm than good.

To make sure your donations have the maximum effect, follow these guidelines:


  1. If you want to donate to the Red Cross, you can give any amount through this link: Alberta Fires Appeal.Alternately, you can donate $5 by texting REDCROSS to 30333 or donate $10 by texting FIRES to 45678. Be careful: There are some scammers posing as the Red Cross asking for money on social media. Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is matching all donations made to the Red Cross for the Fort McMurray Wildfires.
  2. If you want to donate to the Salvation Army, you can give any amount through this link: Alberta Fire Response.


  1. If you need a place to stay, or are looking to take in some evacuees, check out these Facebook groups:Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Page, Fort Mcmurray evac relocation help group.
  2. Airbnb has waived all service fees for those affected by the fire, and there are already over 40 places listed on the site for free.
  3. Those able to house displaced people can also sign up at


  1. If you want to donate items such as blankets or clothes, check out this Facebook group: Fort Mac Fire Donations. Make sure you’re only giving things people actually need. People often donate things after a disaster that aren’t needed, and sometimes actually get in the way of vital supplies.
  2. Edmonton Emergency Relief Services is collecting diapers, baby wipes, new socks, underwear, and toiletries. Drop off items at 10255 104th St in Edmonton.
  3. Edmonton’s Food Bank is collecting donations. Food can be dropped off at any major grocery store or fire hall.


  1. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is inviting volunteers to sign up here.
  2. Edmonton Emergency Relief Services is looking for volunteers. Call 780-428-4422 and leave a message, they will get back to you.
  3. Those interested in volunteering with the Red Cross can sign up here.

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