Entire City Evacuated as Massive Wildfire Destroys Canada's Fort McMurray - Atlas Obscura
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Entire City Evacuated as Massive Wildfire Destroys Canada’s Fort McMurray

At least one neighborhood is already gone.

Around 270 miles north of Edmonton, in the Canadian province of Alberta, is Fort McMurray, a boomtown that serves as the center of the country’s oil production. On Sunday, a wildfire broke out southwest of town. Initially, this was of small concern to authorities.

But as the hours progressed, dry weather and high winds made the fire increasingly more threatening, to the point that it became a crisis on Tuesday. Officials ordered the entire city—around 60,000 people—evacuated, while the flames jumped a highway, a gas station exploded, and at least one entire neighborhood was destroyed, according to the CBC.

Fleeing residents, meanwhile, were running out of gas on the road as traffic piled up, forcing police to deliver gas by hand, as firefighters struggled to control the blaze. 

Local officials were expected to ask for help from Canada’s Department of National Defense, the CBC reported, though conditions—still hot and dry on Wednesday—weren’t helping things. 

No serious injuries or deaths have been reported, though Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen, through tears, still called Tuesday “the worst day of my career.”

“It’s a nasty, ugly fire,” he added, “and it hasn’t shown any forgiveness.”