Photo taken Monday morning, May 16, 2011 from a helicopter looking over a southeast neighbourhood in Slave Lake Alberta. A forest fire spread through the town Sunday night causing major damage to Slave Lake. Chantal Tkatch went back in by helicopter on Monday to find out that she lost her home, which used to be in the neighbourhood shown in this picture.
Credits: CHATAL TKATCH/SPECIAL TO THE EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
Donation drives are happening across the province to gather necessary items like toiletries and pet food.
Facebook and Twitter have been inundated with information on where to donate and a small group of online Edmonton moms have quickly become a go-to point to make material donations.
"The response has been overwhelming. I went to bed at 4 a.m. and there was less than 100 fans. When I woke up this morning at eight there was close to 500 Facebook fans and constant updates to our twitter feeds," said Felicia Dewar, one of the organizers of the "#Yeg collections for Slave Lake fire victims" Facebook page.
So far, up to 10,000 people have been evacuated from the Slave Lake and surrounding areas.
Dewar and her group will be making daily trips to a temporary shelter set up in Athabasca, Alta., which is now full.
A local Ford dealership has donated an F-150 truck to help transport items and Dewar says she's in talks with local drug stores to provide toiletries.
"They say they need combs and brushes, dry shampoo because showers are not immediately available for everybody, deodorant and conditioners," said Dewar. "These people are in shock and can't be expected to go out and buy things for hygiene."
Jo Dumont, owner of Dumont Fitness Training in Red Deer, is also taking donations and is surprised at how far away people are coming from to drop off items.
"In 12 hours it's gone crazy. We've got churches in Crossfield, Alberta, and Rocky Mountain House and Rimbey and Ponopka donating."
Dewar and Dumont say their groups will not be taking cash donations, instead encouraging all cash to go through the Canadian Red Cross.
Red Cross aid was mobilized to the Slave Lake area Sunday after receiving a call for help. However, supply crews were diverted after the town was placed under emergency evacuation.
They were able to set up an emergency shelter and reception centre in Westlock, Alta., roughly 160 km south of Slave Lake.
The Red Cross has supplied 400 cots, 300 blankets, 500 personal hygiene kits and other supplies.
Similar shelters have been set up in High Prairie, Alta., and at Rexall place in Edmonton.
Anyone seeking information about family and friends in the Slave Lake area can call the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-565-4483.
To donate please visit www.CanadianRedCross.ca