Animals get to use their own bathrooms at JFK airport | Fox News

In this April 26, 2016 photo, a sign marks the new pet relief area opened April 4 in New york’s JFK’s Terminal 4. (AP)

Little Simba couldn’t wait to check it out.

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The toy poodle was among the first to try a special bathroom just for animals at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, among a growing number of “pet relief facilities” being installed at major air hubs across the nation.

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“There’s a fire hydrant in there!” Simba’s owner, Heidi Liddell, announced as she opened the pawprint-marked door between the men’s and women’s rooms.

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It didn’t take long for the dog to sidle up to the little red hydrant atop a patch of artificial turf and do her business. A dispenser of plastic doggie bags and a hose was provided for the owners to clean the area up for the next pet.

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The 70-square-foot room, at JFK’s sprawling Terminal 4, allows dogs and other animals to relieve themselves without needing to exit the building to find a place to go outside a step that requires an annoying second trip through the security line.

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“We had seen an increase of passengers traveling with pets and we decided to do it sooner rather than later,” said Susana Cunha, vice president of the management company that operates the terminal.

Guide and service dogs, emotional support animals and other pets traveling with passengers are all welcome to use the facilities.

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A federal regulation will require that all airports that service over 10,000 passengers per year install a pet relief area in every terminal by this August. Airports that already have them include Dulles International outside Washington D.C., Chicago’s O’Hare and Seattle-Tacoma International.

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“With long flights and short transit time frames, passengers would not have enough time with plane changes to come back through security,” said Karen Greis, a consumer services manager for the Guide Dog Foundation, a nonprofit that trains service dogs and participated in the design of the new facility. “Having relief areas inside the terminal is a stress reliever for the handlers.”

That was certainly the case for Taylor Robbins, who had already missed one flight from JFK to Atlanta and was unsure if she had enough time to go back outside to find a place to walk her terrier John John.

“It’s really clean, it gets the job done and he seemed to understand he could use it,” she said after exiting the doggie restroom. “Without this he would have had to hold it in.”

Other pet owners were encouraged by the convenience.

Mark Shadowens, from Lake Tahoe, California, peered into the new facility with a smile. He said he and his wife Helen would love to travel with their Jack Russell terrier, Bella, but fears not being able to find a place to let her go to the bathroom.

“We travel with our pet a lot, just not on airlines,” Shadowens said. “We like to go see the world and I think we would bring her if there were places like this.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/05/01/animals-get-to-use-their-own-bathrooms-at-jfk-airport.html

Cooler temperatures, rain give firefighters hope of getting handle on massive Canadian wildfire | Fox News

Cooler temperatures and light rain have officials optimistic they’ve reached a turning point on getting a handle on a massive wildfire that has devastated parts of Canada’s oil sands town of Fort McMurray.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the battle against the fire has stabilized to the point where she can visit and begin the next phase of the government’s operation to determine what must be done to eventually allow people to return to the city. A massive evacuation of 25,000 residents displaced by the blaze also came to an end.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada’ oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings. Gas has been turned off, the power grid is damaged and water is not drinkable. Officials said there is no timeline to return residents to the city, but the provincial government is sending in a team on Monday to do preliminary planning.

David Yurdiga, the member of Parliament for the area, toured Fort McMurray Sunday and said he was now more optimistic.

“We’ll be back on our feet a lot quicker than I thought we would be,” he told reporters at the roadblock just south of the city. “All of the key infrastructure is in place. Our hospital is standing. Our schools are standing. Our treatment plant is functioning.”

“I toured probably every neighborhood in Fort McMurray and 80 percent of the homes are standing,” he said. “Some areas you don’t even know there was a fire.”

With cooler temperatures forecast for the next three or four days, Alberta fire official Chad Morrison said firefighters should be able to put out hot spots. And it has allowed them to further protect Fort McMurray. He said he was very buoyed and happy that they are making great progress.

“It definitely is a positive point for us, for sure,” said Morrison, who answered yes when asked if the fight to contain the flames had a reached a turning point.

“We’re obviously very happy that we’ve held the fire better than expected,” he said. “This is great firefighting weather. We can really get in here and get a handle on this fire, and really get a death grip on it.”

Notley said the wildfire grew much more slowly than was feared and was now about 620 square miles (1,600 square kilometers) in size. She said the blaze was quite a bit smaller than had been expected on Saturday, when officials expected it to double in size. She added the city was safe for first responders.

It rained on Sunday, and the municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, tweeted a picture of the rainfall and wrote: “It was only for a few minutes but the sight of rain has never been so good.” Notley retweeted the picture and wrote “Here’s hoping for much more!”

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said they “may be turning a corner” but cautioned it’s too early to celebrate and a lot of work remains.

Officials completed the transport of 25,000 residents out of work camps north of the city after police oversaw a procession of thousands of vehicles Friday and Saturday, and a mass airlift of thousands of evacuees was also employed from the oil mine airfields. The bulk of the city’s evacuees moved south after Tuesday’s mandatory evacuation order, but 25,000 evacuees moved north and were housed in camps normally used for oil sands workers.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire itself. But Notley mentioned two evacuees who died in a traffic accident during the evacuation. Her voiced cracked when talking about the two and noted it is Mother’s Day. Fifteen-year-old Emily Ryan and her stepmother’s nephew, Aaron Hodgson, died in the accident.

The images of Fort McMurray are one of devastation scorched homes and virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground.

The fire and mass evacuation has forced a quarter or more of Canada’s oil output offline and was expected to impact an economy already hurt by the fall in oil prices. The Alberta oil sands have the third-largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its workers largely live in Fort McMurray, a former frontier outpost-turned-city whose residents largely come from elsewhere in Canada.

Morrison said the fire has not reached the Suncor or Syncrude oil sands facilities north of Fort McMurray and that the mines north are not under threat. Notley said there will be a meeting with the energy industry on Tuesday to discuss the state of the facilities and the impact on operations.

Suncor said late Sunday it is beginning to implement its plan for a return to operations.

Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen asked for the patience of residents who are eager to find out if their homes are still standing.

“We are really working hard on that, it’s a complicated process, what’s damaged, what’s left,” Allen said in a posted video. “We really will get that to you as soon as we possibly can.”

Saskatchewan Emergency Management Commissioner Duane McKay said there is heavy smoke in south west Saskatchewan, but no imminent threat of fire to any communities in the province that neighbors Alberta.

Lac La Biche, Alberta, normally a sleepy town of 2,500 about 109 miles south of Fort McMurray, was helping thousands of evacuees, providing a place to sleep, food, donated clothes and even shelter for their pets.

Jihad Moghrabi, a spokesman for Lac La Biche County, said that 4,400 evacuees have come through The Bold Center, a sports facility in town.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/09/cooler-temperatures-rain-give-firefighters-hope-getting-handle-on-massive-canadian-wildfire.html

Firefighters’ dramatic attempt to save house from wildfire captured on camera | Fox News

(The Edmonton Journal)

Dramatic video captured on a doorbell security camera shows Canadian firefighters trying to save a house in the Alberta city of Fort McMurray, one of the areas hit hardest by a devastating wildfire.

The nearly seven-minute video, posted by the Edmonton Journal, shows a team of firefighters spraying the house with fire hoses. At one point, the porch ceiling on resident Ken Bells house becomes engulfed in flames, but the team eventually manages to extinguish the blaze.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada’ oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings. Gas has been turned off, the power grid is damaged and water is not drinkable. Officials said there is no timeline to return residents to the city, but the provincial government is sending in a team on Monday to do some preliminary planning.

Officials said Sunday they had reached a turning point in fighting an enormous wildfire, hoping to get a “death grip'” on the blaze that ravaged parts of Canada’s oil sands town of Fort McMurray amid cooler temperatures and light rain. Meanwhile, a massive evacuation of residents displaced by the blaze came to an end.

The fire and mass evacuation has forced a quarter or more of Canada’s oil output offline and was expected to impact an economy already hurt by the fall in oil prices. The Alberta oil sands have the third-largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its workers largely live in Fort McMurray.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire itself. Notley, however, mentioned two evacuees who died in a traffic accident during the evacuation. Her voiced cracked when talking about the two and noted it is Mother’s Day. Fifteen-year-old Emily Ryan and her stepmother’s nephew, Aaron Hodgson, died in the accident.

Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen asked for the patience of residents who are eager to find out if their homes are still standing.

“We are really working hard on that, it’s a complicated process, what’s damaged, what’s left,” Allen said in a posted video. “We really will get that to you as soon as we possibly can. We care about all of you.”

Lac La Biche, Alberta, normally a sleepy town of 2,500 about 110 miles south of Fort McMurray, was helping thousands of evacuees, providing a place to sleep, food, donated clothes and even shelter for their pets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/11/firefighters-dramatic-attempt-to-save-house-from-wildfire-captured-on-camera.html

Fire officials expect to fight massive Canada inferno for months | Fox News

The images are ones of devastation scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.

There’s fear the growing wildfire could double in size and reach a major oil sands mine and even the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.

The Alberta government said the massive blaze in the province will cover more than 494,211 acres by Sunday and continue to grow because of high temperatures, dry conditions and high winds. Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire said it’s not uncommon to fight such an inferno in forested areas for months.

“In no way is this fire under control,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.

Officials had hoped to complete the mass evacuation of work camps north of Fort McMurray on Saturday. Thousands of displaced residents got a drive-by view of some of the burned-out neighborhoods as convoys continued. No deaths or injuries have been reported since the fire started last Sunday.

Notley said about 12,000 evacuees have been airlifted from oil sands mine air fields over the past two days, and about 7,000 have left in highway convoys escorted by police. She said the goal was to complete the evacuation from northern work camps by Sunday.

The fire could reach the edges of the Suncor oil sands facility, about 15 miles north of Fort McMurray. Non-essential staff have been evacuating and efforts to protect the site were underway.

Notley, however, said that the facility was highly resilient to forest fires. Oil sands mines are cleared and have no vegetation.

Morrison said the fire wasn’t expected to reach the oil sands mines north of Suncor.

The fire and mass evacuation has forced a quarter or more of Canada’s oil output offline and was expected to impact an economy already hurt by the fall in the price of oil. The Alberta oil sands have the third-largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its workers largely live in Fort McMurray where some neighborhoods have been destroyed.

Police said many parts of smoke-filled Fort McMurray are burnt and visibility is low. Officers wore masks as they checked homes to make sure everyone was out.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada’ oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings. Gas has been turned off, the power grid is damaged and water is not drinkable. Officials said there is no timeline to return residents to the city, but the Alberta government has begun preliminary planning, though it stresses fighting the fire is still the first priority.

About 25,000 evacuees moved north in the hours after Tuesday’s mandatory evacuation, where oil sands work camps that usually house employees were used to house evacuees. Officials are moving everyone south where it is safer.

Syncrude, a major oil sands mining company, also shut down operations and evacuated. The company said in a statement that while there is no imminent threat from fire, smoke has reached its Mildred Lake site. They intend to have all personnel out this weekend and started the evacuation early Saturday.

Morrison of Alberta Wildfires said the fire was burning away from communities. He said cooler temperatures were expected Sunday and over the next week. “We feel that it will hold there if we get some cooler conditions over the next two or three days,” he said.

They could get rainfall Sunday but significant rainfall is needed.

The 494,211 acres includes burned areas and those areas still in flames. The fire started last Sunday and has destroyed about than 772 miles of northern Alberta forest.

Lac La Biche, Alberta, normally a sleepy town of 2,500 about 109 miles south of Fort McMurray, was helping thousands of evacuees, providing a place to sleep, food, donated clothes and even shelter for their pets.

Jihad Moghrabi, a spokesman for Lac La Biche County, said that 4,400 evacuees have come through The Bold Center, a sports facility in town. At the center, tables were piled with clothes, towels and other items. The center was offering three free meals a day and other services, including mental health services. A kennel housed people’s pets on site.

Philip Wylie, wife Suda and 13-month-old daughter Phaedra, were among those staying at the center after evacuating their apartment in Fort McMurray on Tuesday.

“Trees were blowing up against our vehicles,” Philip Wylie said of the caravan drive out of town. “We don’t know what we’re going to go back to, or when we can go back.”

Nicole Cormier, a photographer from Fort McMurray, is staying with family in Lac La Biche but brings neigbors that she evacuated with to the center every day for services

She showed cell phone photos she shot from her backyard of the advancing fire, and photos of flames on the side of the road while they were evacuating.

Cormier said she checks the security doorbell camera on her house several times a day just to see if it’s standing. For now, it is.

“It’s weird, you feel a big sigh of relief but you feel totally guilty because of what others have lost,” she said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/08/fire-officials-expect-to-fight-massive-canada-inferno-for-months.html

Canadian officials hope to put ‘death grip’ on massive wildfire | Fox News

Officials said Sunday they had reached a turning point in fighting an enormous wildfire, hoping to get a “death grip'” on the blaze that ravaged parts of Canada’s oil sands town of Fort McMurray amid cooler temperatures and light rain. Meanwhile, a massive evacuation of residents displaced by the blaze came to an end.

Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire told a news conference he’s “very happy” and called it great firefighting weather.

“We can really get in there and really get a handle on this fire and really get a death grip on it,” said Morrison, who answered yes when asked if they’ve reached a turning point.

With cooler temperatures expected in the next three or four days, he said firefighters should be able to put out hot spots. And it has allowed them to further protect fire-ravaged Fort McMurray. “I feel very buoyed and happy that we are making great progress,” he said.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the wildfire grew much more slowly than had been feared and it was now 397,831 acres. She said the blaze is quite a bit smaller than had been expected on Saturday, when officials expected the fire to double in size.

She added the city is safe for first responders and that she will visit the city on Monday to assess the damage.

David Yurdiga, the member of Parliament for the area, toured Fort McMurray on Sunday and said he was it was optimistic.

“We’ll be back on our feet a lot quicker than I thought we would be,” he told reporters at a roadblock just south of the city. “All of the key infrastructure is in place. Our hospital is standing. Our schools are standing. Our treatment plant is functioning.”

“I toured probably every neighborhood in Fort McMurray and 80 percent of the homes are standing,” he said. “Some areas you don’t even know there was a fire.”

It rained on Sunday. The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, tweeted a picture of the rainfall and wrote: “It was only for a few minutes but the sight of rain has never been so good.” Notley retweeted the picture and wrote “Here’s hoping for much more!”

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said they “may be turning a corner” but it’s too early to celebrate and a lot of work remains.

Officials completed the transport of 25,000 residents out of work camps north of the city. Police and military oversaw a procession of thousands of vehicles Friday and Saturday, and a mass airlift of thousands of evacuees was also employed from the oil sands camps that usually house workers.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire itself. Notley, however, mentioned two evacuees who died in a traffic accident during the evacuation. Her voiced cracked when talking about the two and noted it is Mother’s Day. Fifteen-year-old Emily Ryan and her stepmother’s nephew, Aaron Hodgson, died in the accident.

The images of Fort McMurray are one of devastation scorched homes and virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada’ oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings. Gas has been turned off, the power grid is damaged and water is not drinkable. Officials said there is no timeline to return residents to the city, but the provincial government is sending in a team on Monday to do some preliminary planning.

The fire and mass evacuation has forced a quarter or more of Canada’s oil output offline and was expected to impact an economy already hurt by the fall in oil prices. The Alberta oil sands have the third-largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its workers largely live in Fort McMurray.

Morrison said the fire has not reached the Suncor or Syncrude oil sands facilities north of Fort McMurray and that the mines north are not under threat. Notley said there will be a meeting with the energy industry on Tuesday and said topics will include the state of facilities and the impact on operations.

About 25,000 evacuees moved north in the hours after Tuesday’s mandatory evacuation, and were housed in camps normally used to house oil sands employees. Officials then moved everyone south Friday and Saturday.

Just over 18 miles south of Fort McMurray, the main highway into town is blocked off by barricades and police vehicles.

Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen asked for the patience of residents who are eager to find out if their homes are still standing.

“We are really working hard on that, it’s a complicated process, what’s damaged, what’s left,” Allen said in a posted video. “We really will get that to you as soon as we possibly can. We care about all of you.”

Lac La Biche, Alberta, normally a sleepy town of 2,500 about 110 miles south of Fort McMurray, was helping thousands of evacuees, providing a place to sleep, food, donated clothes and even shelter for their pets.

Jihad Moghrabi, a spokesman for Lac La Biche County, said 4,400 evacuees have come through The Bold Center, a sports facility in town.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/08/canadian-officials-hope-to-put-death-grip-on-massive-wildfire.html