The wildfires in Alberta, Canada that forced more than 80,000 people from their homes continue to rage, keeping residents evacuated and prompting more emergency plans to be put in place.
At least 1,600 homes in Fort McMurray have burned to the ground, officials have said, with photos showing parts of the city in ashes. The full extent of the devastation may not be known for some time as fires continue to burn uncontrollably in the area.
According to NPR, 49 wildfires are now burning in Alberta, seven of which are classified as out of control. More than 1,110 firefighters are now working to quell the flames, which have swallowed more than 210,000 acres (85,000 hectares).
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday that it could take some time before the displaced residents can return to their homes. “Unfortunately, we do know that it will not be a matter of days,” she said. NPR reports that the Alberta government is working on a transitional housing plan.
“When you leave,” one evacuating resident told the AP, “it’s an overwhelming feeling to think that you’ll never see your house again.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Thursday that the government would match individual donations to wildfire relief efforts.
The Associated Press reports that “unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions have transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box.” Fort McMurray lies in the world’s third largest reserves of oil, so the fires have caused world oil prices to spike.
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