Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and lots of it. Authorities say the flames burning in Western Canada’s oil-rich province of Alberta are only getting bigger by the day. The blaze, which broke out on Sunday, has now spread to cover an area bigger than New York City. CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
Wildfires in Alberta force nearly 90,000 to fleeWhere there's smoke there's fire, and lots of it. Authorities say the flames burning in Western Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta are only getting bigger by the day. The blaze, which broke out on Sunday, has now spread to cover an area bigger than New York City. CCTV America's Roee Ruttenberg reports.
One analyst at the Bank of Montreal has estimated the cost of the damage – based on potential insurance claims – to be more than $7 billion U.S. dollars. That would make this the most expensive fire disaster in Canadian history.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised full federal assistance, from the air and on the ground and more.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce that in addition to the government of Canada providing future assistance through the disaster financial assistance arrangement, the government will also be matching individual charitable donations made to the Canadian Red Cross in support disaster relief,” Trudeau stated on Thursday.
An from space shows how the blaze has surrounded much of the city of Fort McMurray.
Most of Fort McMurray’s 90,000 residents have been evacuated. Many have been gathered at Lac La Biche, 300 kilometers south.
“Yesterday we spent the night in the parking lot behind the school and we made contact with friends in the morning, went over there and spent a couple hours, waiting for our kids to come from the north,” Karla, a Fort McMurray evacuee said.
Many have had to evacuate multiple times as the spreading flames threaten once safe areas.
Some Albertans wanting to open up their homes have turned to AirBNB. The popular vacation rental website is connecting them with those who are in need of free accommodation.
For now, high winds and high temperatures mean they won’t be going home any time soon.
Mike Wotton on the Canadian wildfires
For more on the Canadian wildfires and what led to the blaze, we spoke to Mike Wotton, a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service.