As we speak, there’s a mass evacuation going on in Fort McMurray, Canada, after unrelenting wildfires forced all 88,000 residents to flee their homes, with officials fearing that the fast-moving fire could end up destroying the entire city.
Alberta’s largest ever evacuation was caused by a fire that broke out on Sunday in the heart of the province’s oil sands region. Strong winds of up to 70km/h (44mph) only worsened the situation, with the wildfire swelling to 85,000 hectares or 850 square kilometers overnight, destroying more than 1,600 homes and buildings in the process, according to CBC.
“It has begun to create its own weather, even creating its own high winds yesterday, and even lightning was coming from the smoke clouds,” senior wildfire manager Chad Morrison told reporters.
As with any disaster these days, people are sharing footage and photos on social media giving us a chilling glimpse of what they’re going through. You can feel their desperation and fear – this is not a Hollywood blockbuster, this is real life.
One of the evacuees who recorded his way out of the fire in his car said that he returned from home on Tuesday morning from his overnight shift at an oil company and a few hours later, he received a call from his friend informing him that his neighborhood was being evacuated.
“I was not — clearly not aware,” he told CBC News. “I wasn’t sure how true or accurate his information was until I got up and took a few steps outside and really saw what was going on. My neighborhood was practically empty, and I could see and hear the flames crackling behind my neighbors’ homes. And that clearly told me it was time to go.”
Thanks to Mike J. for the tip!