The Fort McMurray wildfire has grown to more than 522-thousand hectares, 2,500 hectares of which is in Saskatchewan.
Minister of Municipal Affairs, Danielle Larivee, says that over the weekend parts of the wildfire did see some rain, but not nearly enough.
“The southern edge of the fire received between three and five millimetres of precipitation this weekend,” says Larivee. “(But,) the northern edge of the fire, where it’s burning most actively, received none. There’s no significant precipitation in the forecast in next couple of days either.”
Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildifires, says in spite of that crews still made good progress over the long weekend.
“During the cooler weather, firefighters continued to anchor in with dozers, aircraft and firefighters,” explains Morrison. “We have established over 170 kilometres of fire guards, built by dozers. As well as 1,200 firefighters on scene.”
Larivee also says that since yesterday, 40 new fires have been started and what’s concerning is those were mostly caused by abandoned campfires.
Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfire says, they were quickly put out, but were still a drain on resources.
“The big thing is when people are done with the long weekend, when they’re done camping is to soak it, stir it, and soak it again and make sure it’s cold to the touch,” says Morrison. “We’re going to be out patrolling and always check those areas. But, we really don’t want our firefighters spending time out there putting out campfires when they could be up fighting the fire in Fort McMurray.”
Larivee, adds that they’re expecting to see some reinforcements from around the world heading to the region in the next couple of weeks.
“Around 1,000 more firefighters should be no the ground in the next two weeks from across Canada, the U.S., and South Africa,” explains Larivee. “While the fire risk has fallen in most parts of the province, it remains high to extreme in Fort McMurray.”
Residents can tentatively start returning to Fort McMurray starting on June 1st. (km)