Thousands of people have been airlifted from camps in the Fort McMurray area in Canada
’s Alberta Province as a massive wildfire rages nearby.
Officials airlifted some 8,000 people from work camps north of the area on Thursday and are continuing the airlift on Friday.
Officials are also trying to move some 17,000 people who are in the potential pathway of the fire through the only motorway to the south.
Canada’s Alberta Province declared a state of emergency over the wildfire on Wednesday. The provincial government said that some 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers were involved in fighting the fire in Fort McMurray.
Alberta’s manager of wildfire prevention, Chad Morrison, has, however, said that only rain can stop the fire.
“Let me be clear: air tankers are not going to stop this fire. It is going to continue to push through these dry conditions until we actually get some significant rain,” Morrison said.
A displaced person looks at footage of a wildfire on a mobile phone at a makeshift evacuee center in Lac la Biche, Alberta, May 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Forecasts by Environment Canada say no rain is expected until late Saturday.
More than 88,000 people have evacuated the city over the past three days. Most of them moved south to Edmonton and other areas. Some 25,000 people left for north on Tuesday following an evacuation order.
The fire has slowed down and is said to be heading away from the area. It has already burnt down more than 1,600 homes and other infrastructures.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has warned that people may face a long wait before being able to return home.