“I feel like I’m watching a horror movie”: a huge blaze approaches an oil town in Canada (photos)

“I feel like I’m watching a horror movie”: a huge blaze approaches an oil town in Canada (photos)
“I feel like I’m watching a horror movie”: a huge blaze approaches an oil town in Canada (photos)

Lhe immense blaze which threatens the oil town of Fort McMurray in western Canada gained further ground on Wednesday, the day after the evacuation of more than 6,000 residents, but the authorities hope for a little respite in the hours to come.

The fire more than doubled in size in 24 hours under the influence of strong winds, reaching nearly 21,000 hectares, and is now less than 4.5km from the city.

But the wind has died down and is expected to move the fire away from the city and highway, Christine Tucker of the Alberta Fire Department said at a news conference.

However, authorities have called on residents to be vigilant, as conditions could “deteriorate quickly”.

Located in Alberta (west), Fort McMurray is known as the hotspot for Canada’s oil production. This city of 70,000 inhabitants is also the symbol of the biggest natural disaster in the history of the country, in terms of destruction, after being partially ravaged by flames in 2016.

AFP
AFP

“This evacuation is a stark reminder that our province lives under threat of wildfires and other national disasters,” said Danielle Smith, Premier of the province.

“I’m sure this will bring fear and uncertainty to many residents of Fort McMurray,” she added.

Four southern neighborhoods of the town were evacuated on Tuesday and the entire city is on alert. Many stores are closed, as are some schools, and the smell of smoke has invaded the entire city.

Every day, more than 3 million barrels of oil are extracted from the region’s tar sands, according to official government figures, helping to make Canada the fourth largest producer in the world and the leading exporter of crude to the United States.

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