Massive fire in Canada destroys 85,000 hectares of forests

Ottawa, May 6 (IANS) A massive wildfire in Canadian province of Alberta has destroyed 85,000 hectares, or 850 sq km area prompting more than 88,000 evacuations till Thursday.

The destroyed area is larger than the city of Calgary and the fire has grown five times its initial size since it broke out on Sunday in Canada’s oil sands region, BBC reported.

Many oil sands projects have cut production knocking out nearly a third of the country’s daily crude capacity.

There are still no known casualties from the fire. The 8,000 evacuees, currently camping north of Fort McMurray – a municipality in Alberta, will be resettled in southern urban areas, officials were quoted as saying on Thursday.

However, the officials did not give any timeline for when people may be able to move back to their homes.

Alberta premier Rachel Notley said the fire is growing in size due to high winds but that it was “under control”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government would match donations to the Canadian Red Cross to assist those affected by the fire.

“The outpouring of good will and compassion from Canadians right across the country has not only been inspirational, it has been entirely characteristic of who we are and the fundamental human values we share as Canadians,” Trudeau was quoted as saying..

On Wednesday evening, thousands stayed in arenas, hockey rinks and school gymnasiums.

Cooler temperatures and rain are forecast, giving hope that it could become easier to contain the fire, BBC said.

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