Canada wildfire rages on; 80,000 told to flee

Firefighters in the western Canadian city of Fort McMurray are scrambling to contain a raging fire that has forced the evacuation of all 80,000 residents.
Flames rising in the industrial area of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday. Hot and dry weather has made it hard for firefighters to bring the fire under control. No casualties have been reported but much of one neighbourhood in the city ha
Flames rising in the industrial area of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday. Hot and dry weather has made it hard for firefighters to bring the fire under control. No casualties have been reported but much of one neighbourhood in the city has been destroyed.PHOTO: REUTERS

CALGARY (Alberta) • An out-of-control wildfire destroyed much of one neighbourhood in the remote Canadian city of Fort McMurray and badly damaged other areas, hours after all 80,000 residents were ordered to leave in the biggest evacuation in the area's history.

Firefighters in the north-eastern Alberta city at the heart of Canada's oil sands region were bracing themselves for another tough day yesterday. Hot, dry weather has made it hard to bring the fire under control.

No casualties have been reported but petrol stations exploded, and a hotel and a motor home park went up in flames, according to reports. The air was thick with black smoke.

 
 

"I know that it's a very scary time," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told a press conference.

Some 44,000 people had fled the city by late Tuesday, but evacuations were delayed by petrol shortages, local officials said.

The fire broke out south-west of the city on Sunday, shifting aggressively with the wind to breach the city limits on Tuesday, when its size was estimated at 26.5 sq km.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Canada wildfire rages on; 80,000 told to flee'. Print Edition | Subscribe