Fort McMurray is on fire


A wildfire burns a hillside.
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Level 2

The forest around Ft. McMurray is on fire.
Large parts of the city are on fire. Ft. McMurray is Alberta’s fifth largest city.
This is the largest wild fire in Alberta history.
This is the largest evacuation in Alberta history.

Map of the fire zone
It all happened in a few days.

The first 4 days of the wild fire

Day 1, May 1, Sunday

Several small forest fires start in the area.
Fire crews start to work.

Day 2, May 2, Monday

The wildfire grows to 12.8 sq. km. or 1280 hectares.

Day 3, May 3, Tuesday

The wildfire crosses the Athabaska River and highway.

The fire gets bigger and moves closer to the city.

The weather is hot, dry and windy.

The Alberta Premier, Rachel Notley, declares a State of Emergency.

She said, “We all know this is the single biggest evacuation that we’ve seen from a fire, and the single biggest overall impact on a community in the history of the province.”

Premier Notley set up emergency fund through the Red Cross.

Everyone in the city of Ft. McMurray is ordered to leave the city.

88,000 people evacuate. People left town in cars, trucks and buses. They rode bicycles and horses.

There is only one highway in and out of the city. The road is full of vehicles trying to get out. It takes 4 hours to travel 80 km.

Day 3, evacuating the city

 There were no injuries. Two babies were born.

The fire is at the road. Photo -

The fire is at the road.
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Day 4 – May 4, Wednesday

The winds are stronger, up to 70 km. an hour.

The fire crosses Clearwater River.

The fire is burning in the city and suburbs. 1600 buildings are burned.

100 sq. km. or 10,000 hectares are on fire.

Look at the fire from a plane

Day 5, May 5, Thursday

The fire is still out of control.

850 sq, km. or 85,000 hectares are on fire.

Prime Minister Trudeau announces the federal government will match private donations to the Red Cross emergency fund.

CBC news says: Without rain, the massive Fort McMurray wildfire is expected to keep growing. No firm estimates are available on the number of structures that burned Wednesday night.

Fire officials in Alberta do not yet know what started a massive wildfire that chased the entire population out of Fort McMurray, but they now know the only force that can stop it will be a significant change in the weather.

How to help

People across the country are helping by donating through the Red Cross.

Donate through the Red Cross

What is a State of Emergency?

A government can decide a situation is very serious and it needs help to handle it. A State of Emergency allows the government to make people to do things like evacuate and to help. It allows the government to spend money on emergency services.

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun and CBC news