About 60,000 people have been ordered to flee the Canadian city of Fort McMurray in the province of Alberta on Tuesday due to a massive wildfire, which was caused by rising temperatures and the tinder-dry forest. The evacuation because of the McMurray wildfires is reportedly the largest in the history of Alberta.
According to officials, there is no serious casualty reported so far.
“All of Fort McMurray is under a mandatory evacuation order including Saprae Creek,” according to the Alberta Emergency Alert. “The Reception Centre at MacDonald Island has been evacuated, with those evacuees sent to the Anzac Recreation Centre. The Fort McMurray International Airport remains open at this time.”
The residents were advised to head north to Noralta Lodge and await further instructions. The situation is expected to get worse on Wednesday as the winds will switch directions and is expected to blow at a velocity of 50km/hr.
The temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius and the humidity dropped to 15 percent in Fort McMurray on Tuesday. A number of homes have been destroyed by the engulfing blaze, with the street covered in ashes from the McMurray wildfires.
“If you just walk outside, you feel it (ash) falling on you. You see it floating in the air. I can take a broom and brush it off my deck,” resident Mark Durocher was quoted as saying by The Globe and Mail.
The fire has now spread to Highway 63, which is the main road to Fort McMurray from the south. Firefighters are struggling to bring the blaze under control. But the local authorities have called for reinforcements including water-dumping helicopters, the BBC reported.
The McMurray Metis office succumbed to the blaze along with the Centennial Park. The heavy smoke made it impossible to see into the Waterways while trees and houses burned, the Edmonton Journal reported.
“The McMurray Métis office is gone. So is all of Centennial Park. We felt heat of the fire, and smoke meant we couldn’t see 20 ft ahead,” tweeted Cullen Bird, a Fort McMurray resident.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the locals to follow the evacuation orders. “My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders,” he tweeted.