Wildfire forces evacuation of Canadian city
Some 100,000 residents of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray have been given an evacuation order after an uncontrolled wildfire engulfed homes in the country’s oil sands region.
Alberta Province emergency services said late Tuesday that the entire city “is under a mandatory evacuation order” as the northern edge of the fire was “growing rapidly.”
The initial order only applied to some 30,000 of the residents, mostly those living in the southern area of the city. But it was later extended to the entire city after unpredictable winds worsened the wildfire.
A number of gas stations exploded and several homes were burned down.
The evacuation notice asked people to drive out of the city to evacuation centers.
“This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, adding that the fire had had no casualties.
“We need to find more camps, we have secured spaces for about 6,000 people, we know we need to find more and that work is underway,” Notley added.
A number of flights were cancelled but the airport reportedly remains open.
The fire started southwest of Fort McMurray on Sunday and spread rapidly to the outskirts of the city and later the entire city helped by a drought in Alberta.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had offered government aid in a call to the Alberta premier.
“My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders. We stand ready to help,” he posted on Twitter.