As CTVNews reports, the northern Alberta town, which is Canada’s oilsands capital, was caught off guard by a quick-spreading conflagration on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, more than 80,000 people had heeded a mandatory evacuation order, and tens of thousands were staying in emergency shelters in communities like Lac La Biche and Edmonton. Some oilsands mines have been shut down.
Late Wednesday night, the regional municipality announced a mandatory evacuation of the communities of Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation – which lie roughly 50 kilometres south of Fort McMurray.
All residents from Anzac and Gregoire Lake Estates were safely transported to Lac La Biche.
The flames continued to spread Wednesday, amid temperatures that exceeded 30 C combined with high winds.
Firefighters fought hard to save the city’s water treatment plant. The airport appears to be at risk.
Temperatures are expected to fall to a high of 20 C on Thursday, but officials said it could be days before the situation is under control.