The richest city of America is scorched by fire.


About 100.000 people have been already evacuated because of the Canada’s giant wildfire. At least 160.000 hectares and more than 1.600 structures have been burned as a consequence.

‘A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alberta’. on Highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

 

The fire started on the Sunday 1st of May in the area of Fort McMurray, in Alberta, capital city of Edmonton. Its propagation has been increasing since then, and after 10 days of terror it is still active. Ralph Goodale, public security minister of Canada, affirmed there were 49 wildfires, 7 of them out of control. The CNN compared its dimensions with the city of Hong Kong and 25% bigger than New York City.

The main cause of the fire is not clear yet, some drones have been used in the area to investigate about it. The weather seems to be an important factor. In recent years some other fires started in the region owing to a lightning, as The Weather Network affirms, it could be the same cause this time. Dry conditions and windy weather are two important reasons for the enormous propagation of its flames. According to the BBC news, due to its high temperatures, neighbouring Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also in danger of being soon affected by the fire.

Another factor could be the composition of its lands. The oil boomtown of Fort McMurray is known to be an important centre for the oil sands industry. As the newspaper El Mundo says, it is seated atop reserves for more than 173.000 barrels of oil. Amount comparable to the reserves in Iran, Iraq or Kuwait.

Some of the oil factories in the area have been evacuated, but few of them are still working in spite of the fire and the loss of electricy, gas and drinking water. Even so, a recent article of the CBC  says that there has been a decline on the production in Fort McMurray since the fire began. It could have a strong effect in the oil prices.

Evacuees from the wildfire taking refuge at the Bold Center in Lac La Biche, Alberta, 137 miles south of Fort McMurray, on Saturday. CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Local newspaper Fort McMurray Today exposed the effectiveness of the evacuations, fortunately there was no severely injured. The movements has been made mostly through the main road, Highway 63, to the north side. There has been also nearly 5000 evacuees moved by air transport.

According to CTV news, there has been an enormous awareness all over the country to help the evacuees and the firefighters’ action. Red Cross has sent maritime volunteers to the affected area, at least 500 firefighters are battling the blaze. Economic help has been also given. Also, the Russian government offered humanitarian help and air support, as Huffington Post reported. The Russian’s embassy in Ottawa said to be ‘ready to help our Canadian partners to fight the ongoing wildfires in Alberta.’

Thanks to the help given and the enormous effort made by the firefighters, it is expected to fade out soon. The oncoming rains will actually be a helpful factor as well for the retraction of the flames and the retrieval of control on the area.

 

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