May 24th, 2024

Evacuation alert still active for Fort McMurray as out of control fire burns nearby

By The Canadian Press on May 12, 2024.

Thousands of residents of Fort McMurray and the nearby community of Saprae Creek remain on an evacuation alert as an out-of-control wildfire burns south of the city, but municipal officials say in their latest update that winds on Saturday appear to be pushing the flames further south. A massive swathe of burned forest is seen as a wildfire designated MWF017 by the Alberta Wildfire Service, top right, continues to burn near Ft. McMurray, Alta., in a Saturday, May 11, 2024, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alberta Wildfire Service, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Wildfires raging in northern Alberta prompted the mayor of one the province’s largest municipalities to give his community a pep talk Saturday.

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Sandy Bowman said on social media while everyone is stressed right now, past experience also means the community is prepared to handle this situation.

This is in reference to the 2016 wildfire which tore through the area, destroying 2,400 homes.

At last update around 7:30 Saturday evening, an out-of-control blaze continued to burn 16 kilometres southwest of Fort McMurray, with an evacuation alert still in place for the city, as well as the nearby community of Saprae Creek.

The alert was initially issued Friday and was expanded yesterday to include several areas, including the Gregoire Lake Estates neighbourhood south of Fort McMurray, as well as Fort McMurray First Nation #468, Anzac and Rickards Landing Industrial Park.

As of midnight Sunday, Alberta Wildfire reported the blaze had grown to almost 4,000 hectares in size.

It’s not the only out-of-control wildfire burning in Alberta, as blazes burning in the County of Grande Prairie Number 1 and the MD of Greenview Number 16 had forced people in rural areas out.

Wildfire smoke has affected Edmonton as well, as smoke from a wildfire in another province blanketed the Alberta capital Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2024.

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