Fire in Canada – level 3
"Oh, this is amazing. Absolutely amazing."
"Can you believe how fast it's growing? It wasn’t that big this morning, was it?"
"No, it wasn't."
Eighty thousand people in the Canadian city of Fort McMurray have been forced to flee their homes as a massive wildfire approaches. Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order for the city in the province of Alberta, which is in the heart of the country's Oil Sands Region.
"Well, it is disaster and I find that it's not fair. They didn't even let us take our things and when we asked them... So we lost everything now."
"And where is your house?"
"It was at the campsite."
"So it’s going to sit right there?”
The blaze is about 267 miles northeast of Alberta’s state capital of Edmonton and stretches for 6,540 acres. Firefighters are continuing to tackle the blaze, but the local authorities have called for reinforcements, including a water-dumping helicopter.
The city's main southern exit, Highway 63, has been closed, prompting residents to head north towards the Oil Sands camps.
The blaze, which started southwest of Fort McMurray, spread rapidly on Tuesday to the outskirts of the city, forcing the evacuation of the downtown area and almost every community in the lower town on the banks of the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers.
Weather forecasters expect a cold front to reach Fort McMurray by Wednesday afternoon, bringing increased winds that could make for a more difficult fire-fighting day.
Difficult words: flee (to leave), mandatory (if something is mandatory, you must do it), blaze (a fire), tackle (to fight).
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