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Over 80,000 flee homes in bid to escape from wildfire

By Staff Reporter

Published 06/05/2016

The wildfires rage
The wildfires rage
Marlee Hildebrandt and her daughter Oakley (2) clean cots at an evacuee centre in Lac la Biche, Alberta
Evacuee Tyra Abo
A huge plume of smoke

The massive, raging Canadian wildfire has forced the evacuation of three more communities south of the country's main oil sands city.

Officials with the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo had been notified of changing weather patterns, ordering the evacuation of Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation.

The fire has already forced the evacuation of more 80,000 people and torched 1,600 homes and other buildings in Fort McMurray. The province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency.

In the early hours of yesterday, evacuees from Fort McMurray were sitting on buses headed for Edmonton after being forced out of their temporary shelter in nearby Anzac. They had arrived there late on Tuesday after being evacuated from their homes in Fort McMurray.

There was some good news - Fort McMurray's water treatment plant was saved, and Scott Long, of Alberta Emergency, said the downtown core was being held "through some Herculean efforts" of firefighters. There was still no indication of injury or death from the fires.

The images were largely ones of devastation - scorched trucks, charred homes and burned-out telephone poles.

Alberta premier Rachel Notley flew up to survey the situation first-hand and tweeted "heartbreaking" pictures of the fire from above. As high as her helicopter was, she said the plumes of smoke reached even higher.

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