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Wildfire reaches downtown Fort McMurray

**** Update ****

Reports as of Wednesday morning indicate the most affected neighbourhoods being Beacon Hill, Abasand, Waterways, and Timberlea areas. Beacon Hill is reported to have experience an 80% loss of homes.

The wildfire blazing in Fort McMurray nearly doubled in size on overnight on Monday.

Flames moved beyond the Athabasca River, causing a second fire, likely from ash carried by the wind. 12 communities are being evacuated from the area.

Around 2 o’clock, Tuesday afternoon, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued a mandatory evacuation notice for Abasand, Beacon Hill, and Grayling Terrace.

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Now, Gregoire, Waterways, Draper, Saline Creek, Thickwood, Wood Buffalo, Dickinsfield, lower townsite, and downtown have been added to that list. As of 11 am Tuesday, the primary fire was up to about 26-hundred hectares in size and the secondary was about five hectares.

Fires reached downtown Fort McMurray and have taken some homes. Over 80,000 people have been evacuated from the area.

Highways 858 and 63 are closed at the intersections with 881. Traffic is reduced to essential personnel only and people fleeing the flames.

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