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Fort McMurray homes on fire, gas station blows up

Fort McMurray residents flee the city after flames encroach neighbourhoods.
Fort McMurray residents flee the city after flames encroach neighbourhoods.

Homes have begun to burn in Fort McMurray as residents flee for safety from a blaze that’s doubled in size within a day.

More than 30,000 people have now been ordered to leave Fort McMurray communities.

“My whole life is burning away,” said Jenn Tremblett, who has left for Edmonton. “My home is in Gregoire (Fort McMurray neighbourhood) so it may be gone soon.

“My family is trying to get out of town.”

Tremblett said the community of Beacon Hill is on fire, after a nearby Shell gas station blew up.

“It’s very bad,” she said. 

Fire officials have extended the evacuation order to 10 communities in the city, including Beacon Hill, Abasand, Waterways, Draper, Saline Creek, Grayling Terrace, downtown, Thickwood, Wood Buffalo and Dickinsfield. 

Kristen Mctavish, who lives in the city’s downtown, was on her way 63 kilometres north to Noralta’s Grey Wolf Lodge, where one camp, among others, has been set up to house evacuees.

“I cried,” Mctavish said. “It’s better now because we’re actually moving somewhere, but traffic is really bad.”

Highway 63 going south has remained closed as the blaze has made it impossible to travel in that direction, according to an Alberta emergency alert. 

Many houses in Beacon Hill and Gregoire have burned down, including the homes of Mctavish’s friends. 

“Couple of my friends’ homes have burned down, and a lot of people are going north,” she said. “Buildings and businesses caught on fire. The gas station exploded.”

On Tuesday evening, a forestry spokesperson said officials are pulling out crews as it has become prime burning time, adding tomorrow is supposed to be more intense. 

Mctavish said she’s a bit worried her home may burn down. 

“I live close to the Gregoire and Beacon Hill area,” she said. “I hope it will be under control by then.”

Unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions have transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box. The wildfire threat ranging from very high to extreme.

Fire officials had already warned earlier in the day that rising temperatures and low humidity could help the fire grow.

- With files from the Canadian Press

- Original Metro story here

 

More than 30,000 people have now been ordered to leave Fort McMurray communities.

“My whole life is burning away,” said Jenn Tremblett, who has left for Edmonton. “My home is in Gregoire (Fort McMurray neighbourhood) so it may be gone soon.

“My family is trying to get out of town.”

Tremblett said the community of Beacon Hill is on fire, after a nearby Shell gas station blew up.

“It’s very bad,” she said. 

Fire officials have extended the evacuation order to 10 communities in the city, including Beacon Hill, Abasand, Waterways, Draper, Saline Creek, Grayling Terrace, downtown, Thickwood, Wood Buffalo and Dickinsfield. 

Kristen Mctavish, who lives in the city’s downtown, was on her way 63 kilometres north to Noralta’s Grey Wolf Lodge, where one camp, among others, has been set up to house evacuees.

“I cried,” Mctavish said. “It’s better now because we’re actually moving somewhere, but traffic is really bad.”

Highway 63 going south has remained closed as the blaze has made it impossible to travel in that direction, according to an Alberta emergency alert. 

Many houses in Beacon Hill and Gregoire have burned down, including the homes of Mctavish’s friends. 

“Couple of my friends’ homes have burned down, and a lot of people are going north,” she said. “Buildings and businesses caught on fire. The gas station exploded.”

On Tuesday evening, a forestry spokesperson said officials are pulling out crews as it has become prime burning time, adding tomorrow is supposed to be more intense. 

Mctavish said she’s a bit worried her home may burn down. 

“I live close to the Gregoire and Beacon Hill area,” she said. “I hope it will be under control by then.”

Unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions have transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box. The wildfire threat ranging from very high to extreme.

Fire officials had already warned earlier in the day that rising temperatures and low humidity could help the fire grow.

- With files from the Canadian Press

- Original Metro story here

 

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