Huge Convoy of Evacuees Moves South as Canada Wildfire Grows

As officials hope for rain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 6, 2016 11:45 AM CDT
Huge Convoy of Evacuees Moves South as Canada Wildfire Grows
Smoke rises above trees in Fort McMurray, Alberta on Wednesday.   (Jason Franson)

A massive convoy was underway Friday to move evacuees stranded at oil field camps north of fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, to areas south of the Canadian oil sands capital, reports AP. Police and military are overseeing the procession of an estimated 1,500 vehicles. Meanwhile, a mass airlift of evacuees was expected to resume, a day after 8,000 people were flown out. In all, more than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray, and officials say no deaths or injuries related to the fire have been reported. The Alberta provincial government, which declared a state of emergency, says more than 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment, and 22 air tankers are fighting the fire, but it's not enough.

"It is going to continue to push through these dry conditions until we actually get some significant rain," an official says. The fire, perhaps sparked by lightning, grew to 328 square miles Thursday, though growth has slowed, and is moving away from Fort McMurray. Forecasts call for a 40% chance of rain Saturday. About 25,000 evacuees moved north in Tuesday's mandatory evacuation—one of the largest in North America in recent memory—where oil sands work camps were converted to house people. But the bulk of the more than 80,000 evacuees fled south to Edmonton and elsewhere. (More Canada stories.)

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