A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the residents of Fort McMurray as a result of a massive wildfire.
The order, which affects 60,000 people, comes as a result of a huge wildfire that forced people to escape from their homes and get stuck in gridlocks. The uncontrollable fire has spread to almost 10,000 square miles in the last 24 hours.
The intensity of the fire is too strong to be tackled or contained by firefighters. The north side of the fire had grown enormously on Tuesday, according to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency. Addressing the issue at a news conference, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said, “I know that it’s a very scary time. I know it’s a very, very stressful time for people to have to leave their homes under these conditions.”
According to Canadian Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale, the situation was “fluid and rapidly evolving” late Tuesday night.
As reported by CBC News, no injuries or fatalities have been reported as a result of the fire, officials said. Alberta Emergency Alert released a statement, issuing a mandatory evacuation order for all of Fort McMurray, including Saprae Creek.
“The Reception Centre at MacDonald Island has been evacuated, with those evacuees sent to the Anzac Recreation Centre. The Fort McMurray International Airport remains open at this time,” the statement said.
Highway 63 was gridlocked as a result of thousands of residents fleeing their homes. An undetermined number of homes have been destroyed in the wildfire. Meanwhile, Northern Lights Regional Health Center said all of its 105 patients had been evacuated and transferred to alternate facilities. Fort McMurray International Airport was also affected with the cancellation of 20 arrivals and departures.
Temperatures soared to 90 degrees on Tuesday, making it one of the hottest days in the month of May on record. The situation was made worse by humidity reaching as low as 10 percent and winds picking up speeds of 25 miles per hour, NBC News reported.
Wednesday is expected to witness similar conditions. Air quality could be worsened as a result of the rising levels of smoke.