Canadian Officials Seek 'Death Grip' on Wildfire

Turning point seen in Fort McMurray blaze
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2016 6:00 PM CDT
Canadian Officials Seek 'Death Grip' on Wildfire
A helicopter drops water on hot spots along the highway to Fort McMurray, Canada, Sunday, May 8, 2016.    (Ryan Remiorz)

Officials said Sunday they reached a turning point in fighting an enormous wildfire, hoping to get a "death grip" on the blaze that devastated Canada's oil sands town of Fort McMurray amid cooler temperatures and light rain, the AP reports. Meanwhile, a massive evacuation of residents displaced by the blaze came to an end. Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire told a news conference he's "very happy" and called it great firefighting weather. "We can really get in there and really get a handle on this fire and really get a death grip on it," says Morrison, who answered yes when asked if they've reached a turning point. With cooler temperatures in the next three or four days, he said firefighters should be able to put out hot spots. And it has allowed them to further protect fire-ravaged Fort McMurray.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the wildfire grew much more slowly than was feared and it is now 397,831 acres. She said the blaze is quite a bit smaller than had been expected on Saturday, when officials expected the fire to double in size. She added the city is safe for first responders and said she will visit the city on Monday to assess the damage. It rained on Sunday. The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, tweeted a picture of the rainfall and wrote: "It was only for a few minutes but the sight of rain has never been so good." Notley retweeted the picture and wrote "Here's hoping for much more!" Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says they "may be turning a corner" but it's too early to celebrate and a lot of work remains. (More wildfires stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.