The Conference Board of Canada said in a briefing that the Fort McMurray wildfires will impact GDP in Alberta slightly and hardly at all at the national level.

Oil production has dropped by approximately $1.2 million barrels per day over the last two weeks, a loss of nearly $1 billion, and new evacuations from oilsands camps could drive the numbers even higher.

The Conference Board says government money and donations will help the Alberta economy start to recover. The $1200 given to every adult evacuee by the government is being spent on hotels and food within the province.

“There has been a lot of dispersal from governments and the Red Cross into those displaced households, certainly they are not spending in Fort McMurray but are spending in other areas within the province and that is going to cause some mitigating effects in accommodation and food spending and other services,” said Pedro Antunes, Conference Board of Canada.

Even though the losses are huge, the rebuilding effort will also be huge, an estimated $1.3 billion. With the loss of 2400 buildings in Fort McMurray and possibly more to the north, construction will provide jobs to the area for years.

“All of these thing really suggest that we won’t see a huge impact on an already difficult situation for the province in 2016, and the rebuilding effort really starts to kick in in 2017 and there we are going to start to see effectively an addition to economic activity because of that,” said Antunes.  

For now, the government is just trying to get the basics like grocery stores and pharmacies available again.

“That plan is now on hold because of air quality concerns, however the good news is most of the retail facilities are intact and will be able to get up and running relatively quickly once the air clears,” said Premier Rachel Notley in a briefing.

But the effects on the province will be long-lasting, with the government funding recovery efforts by taking on heavy debt. In addition, insurance rates will go up as companies respond to what could be the worst natural disaster in the province’s history.

with files from and The Canadian Press