Devastation in Fort McMurray

beacon-hillFire officials battling a raging wildfire are braced for another hot, dry and windy day in Fort McMurray, Alta., warning that the situation could be as bad or worse than the day before, when whole neighbourhoods burned down and the entire city was evacuated.

With strong winds likely to fuel the fire, thousands of residents have fled the city and up to 20,000 evacuees are expected to arrive in Edmonton.

Allen said the focus Tuesday was to get residents out of the community to keep them safe. On Wednesday, efforts will be focused on fighting the blaze and protecting critical infrastructure, including the bridge that spans the Athabasca River and links the two sides of the city.

The next update from the Wood Buffalo municipality is expected at 11 a.m. MT.

Late Tuesday, provincial and fire officials reported several residential neighbourhoods in the oilsands capital that they believe have been lost to fire.

They also warned that Wednesday would not necessarily be any easier.

“The worst of the fire is not over,” said Bernie Schmitte, manager of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We’re still faced with very high temperatures, low relative humidity and some strong winds.”

Robin Smith, press secretary for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said no buildings were on fire as of about 6 a.m. Smith said the focus for fire crews is to ensure no one is hurt and to prevent damage to critical infrastructure, with a focus on protecting the neighbourhoods of Timberly and Thickwood.

Read the rest here. And pray for rain; that’s the absolute best thing that could happen right now.

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Tim Chesterton

Family man; pastor of St. Margaret's Anglican Church on Ellerslie Road, Edmonton; storyteller; traditional folk musician and occasional songwriter. Email me at timchesterton at outlook dot com.

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