Hundreds of Canadian residents evacuated due to wildfire


Hundreds of residents of four neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, have been ordered to evacuate due to a rapidly spreading wildfire threatening the community. This is reported by the Associated Press.

Hundreds of Canadian residents evacuated due to wildfire
The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo emphasised the urgency of the situation, noting that the evacuation was necessary to clear space for firefighting crews to combat the blaze, which had approached within 13 kilometres (8 miles) of the city. An emergency evacuation warning remains in effect for the rest of Fort McMurray and its surrounding areas.

Fort McMurray, known as Canada's oil sands hub, has a population of approximately 68,000. The city is no stranger to the devastation caused by wildfires; in 2016, a massive blaze destroyed 2,400 homes and forced over 80,000 residents to flee.

Currently, more than 230 wildfires are raging across western Canada, with the majority located in British Columbia. The British Columbia Wildfire Service reported that one particularly large fire has expanded to 84 square kilometres (32 square miles), up from 53 square kilometres (21 square miles) on Monday.

The evacuation orders extend to the community of Fort Nelson, where approximately 4,700 residents and the neighbouring Fort Nelson First Nation have been under evacuation since Friday. Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Rob Fraser highlighted the logistical challenges posed by the evacuation, particularly in ensuring essential workers, including firefighters, have access to food and supplies.

This latest wildfire emergency comes in the wake of a record-setting wildfire season in Canada in 2023, which saw widespread smoke affecting parts of the United States and forced more than 235,000 Canadians to evacuate their homes. The season also claimed the lives of at least four firefighters.

As the situation develops, authorities are urging residents to stay informed through official channels and adhere to evacuation orders to ensure their safety.

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