Canada Wildfire: Watch This Dramatic Footage of the Fort McMurray Blaze

Fire Canada
Drivers wait for clearance to take firefighting supplies into towns outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 5, 2016. A wildfire has forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the city. Scott Olson/Getty

Canadian officials are airlifting to safety 8,000 people who fled north of Fort McMurray after the city was devastated by a massive wildfire this week.

The entire city—more than 88,000 people—was evacuated three days ago and the fire in the province of Alberta has grown to 850 sq km (328.2 sq miles).

Most of those who fled north have been staying in oil sands work camps, but these areas are also now under threat from the wildfire.

About 4,000 people have already been flown in military and civilian transport planes to Edmonton and Calgary and another 4,000 are expected to be rescued today.

Our crew taking their first rest since leaving #shpk yesterday evening. #ymmfire

— Strathcona Firefighter/Paramedics (@StrathconaFire) May 4, 2016

Authorities hope that the only motorway to the south will become safe on Friday to move a further 17,000 people—by road—who are also in danger of becoming trapped.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze using helicopters and air tankers.

An inspiring message from a Fort McMurray Firefighter. We are all thinking of you guys. #brotherhood #sisterhood

— Strathcona Firefighter/Paramedics (@StrathconaFire) May 6, 2016

The fire—which has already destroyed more than 1,600 homes in Fort McMurray and covers an area almost the size of Calgary, Alberta's largest city—has slowed down and is now heading away from the city.

But Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warned city residents that they were facing a long wait before they would be able to return home.

In Focus

Canada's Fort McMurray Wildfire in Pictures

The 88,000 residents who fled the wildfire will not be able to return home anytime soon.
Launch Slideshow 6 PHOTOS