06/16/2013 02:49 EDT

Fort McMurray Flooding: Firebag River Bridge Washed Out, 60 People Stranded


Flooding near Fort McMurray has washed out a bridge, stranding about 60 people.

The north bank of the Firebag River Bridge washed out late Saturday afternoon, reports Global News.

The bridge, located about 100 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, is not a full vehicle bridge, but rather used for people who go camping and quading, the Edmonton Journal notes.

Darby Allen, regional fire chief and director of emergency management in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, told the Journal approximately 60 people are on the other side of the bridge, including six to eight Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development employees.

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According to the Edmonton Sun, warning signs are up and crews are working to get to people trapped on the other side of the fast-flowing river.

Poles and wood are being sent to the area Sunday in an effort to build a temporary bridge, reports the Journal.

“It’s probably going to take most of the day (Sunday) to get that built and get it in a safe condition,” Allen said.

Officials are warning Fort McMurray residents to use caution as water levels in some areas remain high.

“This has been an extremely difficult week for many of our residents, and in particular for the residents of this neighbourhood,” said Mayor Melissa Blake told Global.

“We want to thank them for their patience and resilience during this trying time.

Earlier from the CBC:

More than 400 people have been permitted to return home to two Fort McMurray neighbourhoods placed under mandatory evacuation orders on Thursday.

Residents in Grayling Terrace and the south part of Draper Road are now under a voluntary evacuation notice.

The neighbourhoods had been evacuated amidst concern that erosion along Beacon Hill’s southwest side might cause river blockages, diverting the Hangingstone River into the residential areas.

A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for residents of the Ptarmigan Court Trailer Park.

Officials say they're doing everything possible to get people home as soon as they can.

Flood watch downgraded

Alberta Emergency Alert has downgraded the flood watch for the Hangingstone River to a high streamflow advisory.

A flood watch is still in effect for the Clearwater River and its tributaries, with flooding and erosion being reported where the Clearwater joins the Hangingstone River.