Since we first reported on the massive fire (and the fallout) that was burning in Canada’s oil sands gateway, Fort McMurray, things have gone from bad to worse. Today we learn that the fire that has already devastated 600 square miles, growing an additional 50% in less than 24 hours, is out of control, and could double in size by the end of the day.
As of late Saturday night, the fire had grown to 156,000 hectares and was heading toward the Saskatchewan border. Officials said winds up to 40 kilometres an hour will blow Saturday and warm temperatures mean it could add another 100,000 hectares to the fire by the end of the day. “We need heavy rain,” said Chad Morrison, senior wildfire manager, giving an update with Notley at noon Saturday according to the EdJournal.
“This remains a big, out of control, dangerous fire” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said. “There is one prediction, that if it continues to grow a the present pace, it could double today” Goodale added.
The map above shows the fire as of 11 a.m. Saturday. The smaller fire in the northeast corner of the map is expected to join the major fire today and continue growing. There are serious concerns it will reach the Saskatchewan border
Alberta’s government crisis cell warned that the fire conditions remained extreme in the province due to low humidity, high temperatures, and gusty winds.
“It looks like the weather in and around Fort McMurray will still be, sadly, very conducive to serious burning conditions. The situation remains unpredictable and dangerous.” Goodale continued.
People that fled to the north of the city are now being evacuated again due to changing wind conditions. The plan now is to move people south to other evacuee staging grounds, and eventually to Edmonton, 250 miles to the south.
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