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Thousands Evacuated From Fort McMurray Due To Wildfire Concerns

An evacuation order was issued for four Fort McMurray neighbourhoods on May 14th, as a wildfire southwest of Fort McMurray continues to grow, causing safety concerns. The neighbourhoods of Beacon Hill, Abasand, Prairie Creek, and Grayling Terrace have been evacuated at this time, forcing more than 6,600 people to flee their homes. As of Tuesday evening, the fire had consumed nearly 21,000 hectares of forest, nearly doubling in size in a single day. Outside of the evacuated areas, the rest of Fort McMurray, and some surrounding communities within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, remain on evacuation alert, with residents needing to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice.

The wildfire continues to burn out of control about 7.5 kilometres from the Fort McMurray landfill on the southern outskirts of the community.

The fight to contain the blaze has been taken to the sky with helicopters and air tankers above, while ground crews build containment lines and set up sprinkler systems in an effort to protect homes and businesses.

The cause of the wildfire has yet to be determined.

Evacuees who require food or accommodation are told to report to a reception centre at the Cold Lake Agriplex in the City of Cold Lake.

While hotels are already full in Lac La Biche, RV and camping accommodations remain available.

The City of Edmonton has also set up an evacuee reception centre at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre, which will provide food, clothing, pet day care and health care. The Red Cross will also be in attendance at the site to help organize hotel accommodations for those who require it.

The province will provide financial support for evacuees.

Emergency and government officials are expected to provide additional updates Wednesday, May 15th.

For updates on Emergency Alerts, please visit www.alberta.ca/alberta-emergency-alert.

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