Fire Could Double in Size, Canadian Official Says
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – large parts of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray in ruins following a devastating wildfire, and it could get a lot worse.
Dry, windy conditions are fueling the blaze, which has already raged over 1,010 square kilometers (389 square miles). By Saturday, it might be twice as big.
"It's extremely dry out there. Wind continues to push from the southwest, to push the fire to the northeast into the forested areas," Alberta Wildfire official Chad Morrison said Friday afternoon. "There is a high potential that this fire could double in size by the end of the day tomorrow."
The monster fire -- which is the size of Hong Kong and is almost 25% bigger than New York City -- has displaced about 88,000 people and wiped out 1,600 structures.
The city of Fort McMurray has been devastated, damage witnessed by thousands of people who drove through Friday in evacuee convoys headed to Edmonton and other cities. More than 1,200 vehicles headed south down Highway 63, the lone road open for people relocating to emergency shelters and the homes of friends or family.
One of the fleeing residents told CNN near Fort McMurray that the past few days have been like "hell on Earth. Just like hell."
Other residents had already made it to safety at the Edmonton Expo Centre.
Canadian military helicopters hovered overhead to look out for smoke and flames along the evacuation route, while emergency gas stations were set up to keep the convoy moving.
CNN partner CTV posted photos it said were taken as the convoy drove through the northeastern Alberta city. Flames and towering columns of smoke filled the sky.
Other people likely wil be airlifted out of the fire zone, as 7,000 were Thursday, according to authorities.
Some 15,000 people remain stranded north of the devastated city, but not all will leave, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.