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Fort Mcmurray wildfire ‘to double in size’

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Students from Fort McMurray Composite High School are released early as wildfire burns nearby in Fort McMurray, Alberta May 3, 2016. Courtesy Kangen Lee/Handout via REUTERS

Students from Fort McMurray Composite High School are released early as wildfire burns nearby in Fort McMurray, Alberta May 3, 2016. Courtesy Kangen Lee/Handout via REUTERS

A huge wildfire which devastated the Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray could double in size over the next 24 hours, officials told the BBC.

The blaze now covers an area larger than New York City and is being fanned by winds and feeding on dry vegetation.

The flames are moving away from the town, most of whose inhabitants have reached safety.

But many are still stuck north of Fort McMurray and evacuations by road and air are resuming.

More than 80,000 people were evacuated from the city earlier this week.

Thousands of people have been airlifted out but a mass convoy evacuating people from oil worker camps in the north was halted on Friday as huge flames flanked the road.

At least 2,500 made it through the flame-damaged city and small convoys resumed early yesterday. Another 4,000 people are also due to be flown out.

There is growing concern over the air quality for those still north, CBC reported.

The provincial government said on Friday that the fire had grown to 1,000 sq km (386 sq miles).
Wildfire prevention manager Chad Morrison said there was a “high potential that the fire could double in size” by the end of Saturday.

But he added that it would expand into a more remote forested area north-east of Fort McMurray.

Dry conditions and 27C heat were expected during the day, but cooler temperatures would prevail and there was a possibility of rain on Sunday and Monday.


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