Alberta wildfire forces mass evacuations in Fort McMurray suburbs

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Residents in the suburbs of Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek, and Grayling have been ordered to evacuate by 4 pm Mountain Time (2200 GMT) as a large wildfire approaches Fort McMurray. The fire, driven by tinder-dry conditions and high winds, remains a persistent threat to the city in Alberta, Canada.

Key Points

– Thousands ordered to evacuate four suburbs in Fort McMurray due to a large wildfire.

– The wildfire, fueled by dry conditions and high winds, is just 13 km southwest of the city.

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– Officials report the fire has grown to over 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres).

Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Josee St-Onge reported that the blaze grew significantly on Tuesday, with southwest winds reaching 40 km/h (24.8 mph). “Unfortunately, these are not favorable winds for us, and the fire will continue to advance towards the town until we see a wind shift,” she stated during an online media briefing. She also mentioned that firefighters had to be pulled from the fire line for safety reasons due to extreme fire behavior and smoke columns.

Thousands evacuated in Fort McMurray suburbs as a massive wildfire nears.

Thousands evacuated in Fort McMurray suburbs as a massive wildfire nears.

Impact on Fort McMurray and Preparedness

Fort McMurray, the hub for Canada’s oil sands industry, producing roughly 3.3 million barrels per day, is facing another severe wildfire. In 2016, a massive wildfire forced the evacuation of 90,000 residents and shut down over a million barrels per day of oil output. This time, officials claim the city is better prepared. “This fire activity is very different than in 2016. We have an abundance of resources and we are well-positioned to respond to this situation,” said regional fire chief Jody Butz.

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Despite the lack of mandatory evacuation orders for other parts of Fort McMurray, many residents have voluntarily chosen to leave, according to Canadian media reports.

The wildfire near Fort McMurray continues to pose a significant threat, prompting mass evacuations and highlighting the need for preparedness in wildfire-prone regions. Authorities are working diligently to manage the situation and ensure the safety of residents and firefighters.

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