Fort McMurray Fire Prompts State of Emergency in Alberta

Alberta has officially expanded the evacuation order around Fort McMurray and declared a provincial state of emergency as it continues to battle the devastating wildfires that have ripped through the city and surrounding areas. Reports have confirmed that approximately 1,600 structures have been damaged by the fire and over 80,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their homes already.

According to the extended mandatory evacuation order issued on Wednesday night, residents of communities near the city including Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation, i.e. almost 50 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, have also been asked to leave the area. Whereas the RCMP officers informed residents door-to-door around 11 p.m. in order to ensure everyone got out of the affected communities. Majority of the evacuees have sought refuge at the nearby oil worker camps and in communities like Lac La Biche and Edmonton. Meanwhile, officials confirm that over 225 firefighters are currently working with heavy equipment and air support to battle the flames, which are nearing Fort McMurray’s airport. Earlier on Wednesday, crews successfully prevented the flames from reaching Fort McMurray’s water treatment plant.

A statement issued by Alberta Premier, Rachel Notley, on Wednesday morning confirmed that approximately 1,600 structures had been damaged or destroyed. She stated that “we have basically two things that we have to do,” and explained that “we have to respond to this emergency, and we have to recover from it.” Notley said the province-wide state of emergency will help the province obtain federal funds.

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