The latest news on wildfires in Canada as thousands forced from homes in the West

    Wildfires have forced thousands out of several communities in Western Canada.

    Roughly 6,600 residents have been told to leave their homes in Fort McMurray, Alta., while the rest of the city remains on evacuation alert. In Fort Nelson, B.C., the northern community of about 4,700 people has been evacuated for a week. And a fire near Cranberry Portage, Man., has forced out about 500 residents.

    Here are the latest developments (all times are MT):

    11:30 a.m.

    Videos posted on social media show what appear to be multiple homes destroyed by the wildfire outside Fort Nelson, B.C.

    The Facebook videos include scenes of large structures reduced to ash and twisted metal, as well as scorched vehicles.

    Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which includes Fort Nelson, has said fire damaged some structures on rural properties outside the town, and emergency staff were working to contact owners.


    10:00 a.m.

    About 10 millimetres of rain fell overnight on the wildfire threatening the oilsands hub city of Fort McMurray, Alta.

    The province’s wildfire service says more rain is also in the forecast.

    The fire is still classified as out of control and continues to burn 5.5 kilometres from the landfill just south of the city, and 4.5 kilometres from the major intersection of Highway 63 and Highway 881.

    9:50 a.m.

    B.C. wildfire crews got what they were hoping for as a low-pressure system brought much-needed rain, cooler temperatures and lower humidity to the Fort Nelson area, in far northeast B.C.

    Evan Peck, a fire behaviour specialist with the BC Wildfire Service, says the weather has made for “excellent” conditions for fire suppression efforts.

    In a video posted by the service late Thursday, he says there has been minimal growth of the Parker Lake fire burning 2.5 kilometres outside Fort Nelson, whose 4,700 residents were told to evacuate last Friday.

    This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2024.

    The Canadian Press

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