Cooler weather has helped manage the size of the Fort McMurray fire.
It was expected to grow to more than 200,000 hectares by Saturday night, but according to Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfire, the fire is currently around 161,000 hectares (only 5000 more hectares than the update on Saturday).
“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.”
Unseasonably low temperatures are forecast for the next few days, which should continue to help.
All 25,000 evacuees have been moved south from camps north of the city. Residents of Fort McKay have also been evacuated now as a precaution, in addition to some workers at nearby oil and gas facilities, though many still remain operational. Meanwhile, more than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is 30 to 40 kilometres away from the Saskatchewan border.
Yesterday, Premier Rachel Notley said that the efficiency of the evacuation of the entire city was miraculous.
“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.”
The Premier is expected to return to Fort McMurray today.
Scott Long with Alberta Emergency Management says they’re sending up the beginnings of a team today 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 is still no timeline for residents to return.