Fire Threat Eases Near Canada’s Oil Sands Hub, But Long, Hot Summer Looms

"The threat from a wildfire near Canada’s oil sands hub of Fort McMurray, Alberta, appeared to be easing on Wednesday, a day after it forced thousands of residents to evacuate and stirred memories of a damaging blaze nearly a decade earlier.

Favorable winds were expected to push the fire away from the city of about 68,000 in northwest Canada, where many residents earn a paycheck from the nearby oil industry. The Fort McMurray fire comes as Canada is just entering a new fire season after last year’s record number of wildfires sent choking smoke across parts of the U.S. and forced more than 235,000 Canadians to evacuate their communities.

But scientists have said it’s not clear that wildfire smoke will be the same problem it was last year, when unusual weather patterns drove the haze southward.

In Fort McMurray, about 6,600 residents fled parts of the city’s southern end while others were on on alert. It was familiar terrain for the Albertan city, which survived a catastrophic blaze in 2016 that destroyed 2,400 homes and forced more than 80,000 people to flee. "

Suman Naishadham and Rob Gillies report for the Associated Press May 15, 2024.


"Winds Set To Push Canada Wildfire Away From Oil City, Say Officials" (Reuters)

Source: AP, 05/16/2024