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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Entire city evacuated after wildfire burns homes to the ground

It’s hit a location called Fort McMurray.

A RAGING FOREST fire has struck the Fort McMurray area of Alberta, Canada, leading to the city being evacuated.

The entire population – more than 80,000 people – of Fort McMurray was ordered to leave over the past day. The fire has been burning since Sunday.

Local newspaper Fort McMurray Today said that: “All of Fort McMurray is wondering if they will have a home to return to”. The fire has breached the city limits.

Canada Wildfire Source: AP

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said it was the biggest evacuation in the history of the province.

The only road out of the city is Highway 63, and photos posted online show that the road was busy even into the early hours of this morning:

Fire chief Darby Allen said they did not have an estimate of the number of homes destroyed, but said the fire is burning in several areas in the city’s south end and had destroyed a mobile home park.

Canada Wildfire This photo provided by Tyler Burgett shows flames from a wildfire along Highway 63 in Fort McMurray Source: AP

There have been no reports of serious injuries. Military assistance has been requested.

The worst is not over because of high temperatures and strong winds are expected Wednesday, forestry manager Bernie Schmitte told AP.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he offered the government’s help to Premier Notley:

“It’s an overwhelming feeling”

Carol Christian’s home was in one of the areas under the order to leave.

“When you leave … it’s an overwhelming feeling to think that you’ll never see your house again,” she told AP.

It was absolutely horrifying when we were sitting there in traffic. You look up and then you watch all the trees candle-topping … up the hills where you live and you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God. We got out just in time’.

Fire Chief Darby Allen told people yesterday not to have a false sense of security as the flames lowered:

“People think it’s fine and it’s all gone away, it’s nice to have that thought but I just want people to bear in mind and don’t get a false sense of security, we are in for a rough day. It will wake up and it will come back and that will be happening for the next few days at least.”

Contains additional reporting from Associated Press.

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