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HomeNewsCooler weather helps keep Fort McMurray wildfire size down

Cooler weather helps keep Fort McMurray wildfire size down

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Cool weather has helped keep the size of the Fort McMurray wildfire down. It was expected to grow to more than 200,000 hectares by Saturday night, but Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfire says it’s sitting around 161,000.

“With a little help from Mother Nature, and a bit of a break in the weather, and really credit to all the firefighters we were able to hold most of the line in Fort McMurray yesterday. In extreme conditions yesterday, firefighters held areas in the city and the community of Anzac.”

Below seasonal temperatures are in the forecast for the next few days, which should continue to help. More than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is 30 to 40 kilometres away from the Saskatchewan border.

All 25,000 evacuees who fled north of the city to oil and gas camps have been safely moved out by air and by vehicle. People from Fort McKay and nearby oil and gas facilities have also been evacuated as a precaution. Speaking Sunday, Premier Rachel Notley called the speed of the evacuation of the entire city miraculous.

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“Unfortunately, we did lose at least two of our citizens during this emergency due to traffic fatalities. As has been reported in the media, Emily Ryan and Aaron Hodgson during the evacuation. Our hearts go out to their families.”

Notley plans to return to Fort Mac Monday. With her, Scott Long with Alberta Emergency Management says they’re sending up the beginnings of a team that will deal with planning for re-entry.

“That is going to be work that will be ongoing for quite some while. We have some initial damage reports that were provided, but you have to remember those were initial damage reports provided by first responders on the ground who were engaged in saving lives and saving infrastructure.”

There’s no timeline for residents to return. They can report pets left behind to the SPCA.

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