A huge fire swept through Fort McMurray in Alberta Canada, destroying an entire neighborhood and forcing 80,000 people to flee.
The blaze has burned homes and businesses and continued to rage out of control, CBC Canada reported.
Local fire chief Darby Allen said the suburb of Beacon Hill “appears to be lost” adding that the worst has yet to happen…people have no idea what will happen overnight.
Approximately half of all properties in the suburb of Abasands have been lost to the fire, according to local news reports.
No buildings were lost in the city’s downtown area, Allen said. Despite the devastation, there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.
The whole city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, the gateway to Canada’s oil sands region, is under a mandatory evacuation order because of an uncontrolled wildfire that is rapidly spreading.
Alberta appealed for help from other provinces and Ottawa to help fight the fire and airlift people from the city.
Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for all of Fort McMurray, which affects the city’s 80,000 residents.
Many fled to work camps in outlying areas, used by the region’s oil and gas companies.
The fire eats its way toward Fort McMurray.
The 2,650-hectare fire shifted aggressively with the wind on Wednesday to breach city limits.
The blaze closed off the main southern exit from the city, prompting residents to head north towards the oil sands camps.
“This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said at a news conference, adding that there were no casualties in the fire.
“We need to find more camps, we have secured spaces for about 6,000 people, we know we need to find more and that work is underway,” Notley said.
Alberta is much drier than normal for this time of year, strengthening prospects for a long and expensive wildfire season, in the wake of a mild winter with lower-than-average snowfall and a warm spring.