Wildfires displace tens of thousands of residents in Alberta, CA

World Today

A raging fire has forced 88,000 people to flee the Fort McMurray area in Alberta, Canada, advancing on their neighborhoods. The fire has spread over 7,500 hectares (about 29 square miles) and at least 1,600 structures have been damaged. 

Firefighters are still struggling to bring it under control.

CCTV’s Malini Wilkes reports.

Wildfires displace tens of thousands of residents in Alberta, CA

A raging wildfire continues to make its way through the Fort McMurray area in Alberta, Canada. As firefighters battle the flames, fleeing residents struggle with what to do next.

A wall of fire and smoke. And just minutes to escape. The flames spread suddenly and swiftly, burning everything in their path.

“It’s a disaster. And I find that it’s not fair that they didn’t even let us take our things when we asked them. So we lost everything now,” Joanne Bates, a Fort McMurray resident, said.

The fire broke out Sunday, but winds shifted quickly Tuesday afternoon – overwhelming firefighters.

Tens of thousands were ordered to leave, racing to get out amid chaos and confusion.

“Nobody seems to know anything. It’s very, very poor as usual. They’ve got music playing on the radio and nobody knows what to do. It’s a terrible situation,” another resident said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered the federal government’s full support.

“Canada is a country where we look out for our neighbors, and we are there for each other in difficult times. And certainly in Fort McMurray, the difficult times they’re going through right now is something that we’re going to unite around across the country,” Trudeau said.

Those who evacuated are being sheltered in nearby cities and at work camps run by energy companies. For now, no one is allowed to go back.