Wildfire forces Alberta to issue evacuation alert in Fort McMurray

Wildfire forces Alberta to issue evacuation alert in Fort McMurray
Wildfire forces Alberta to issue evacuation alert in Fort McMurray

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — An evacuation alert was issued in Alberta for Fort McMurray Friday evening as an out-of-control wildfire burned nearby.

Residents in the area north of the tar sands and the neighboring community of Saprae Creek have been told to be ready to leave quickly.

Jody Butz, regional fire chief and director of emergency management for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said in a video update posted to Facebook Friday evening that the two communities were not in danger and the winds were pushing back the forest fire far from Fort McMurray.

Authorities said the fire was 16 kilometers southwest of Fort McMurray as of 9 p.m. local time.

Alberta Wildfire reported late in the afternoon that the wildfire was about two square kilometers in size, but by early evening it had grown to 10 square kilometers.

Mr Butz explained in the video update that the fire had calmed as temperatures dropped and the spread was expected to slow as temperatures dropped further overnight.

“We expect things to improve tomorrow morning,” he said.

Alberta Wildfire said four wildland fire crews, three helicopters and air tankers are battling the blaze, and will be joined by night vision helicopters overnight.

Fort McMurray has approximately 68,000 residents. A wildfire in 2016 destroyed around 2,400 homes.

Later Friday, Grande Prairie County announced an evacuation order for an area about 50 kilometers northeast of the city of the same name.

The Alberta Wildfire Service estimated the out-of-control fire was about 0.4 square kilometers in size. The fire started about four kilometers east of the hamlet of Teepee Creek and moved away from the community.

Evacuees were asked to register at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Center in the town of Grande Prairie.




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