A steady flow of traffic was still leaving Fort McMurray Wednesday morning after wildfires ripped through the northern Alberta community overnight.
A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the entire city late Tuesday afternoon, forcing more than 80,000 residents to try and get out.
As people left the city, fire crews tried to battle the blaze.
“They’ve spent pretty much the entire night going through the entire city,” Global News reporter Fletcher Kent described to Gormley guest host Murray Wood.
The good news, Kent explained, is that crews didn’t find anyone hurt. However, several Fort McMurray neighbourhoods were badly hit.
An early-morning update from the municipality’s Twitter account reported a number of homes had been destroyed.
— RMWB (@RMWoodBuffalo) May 4, 2016
One of the most badly-hit areas was Beacon Hill. Kent explained that the last census of the Beacon Hill neighbourhood listed that there was 728 homes. Eighty per cent would mean roughly 600 homes burned down.
The fire is still burning around Fort McMurray, having moved from the west side of the city to the east side overnight; Kent explained it essentially moved through the city.
Joanne Lorentz tried to return to the city Wednesday morning after she and her family had evacuated to a Syncrude camp. While they had a place to sleep, she said the centre was overwhelmed trying to feed its share of evacuees.
“I’m just worried for the people who are still trying to get out. And the firefighters who are putting their lives in danger for us.”
Lorentz was about five kilometres outside of the city when her family was turned around. With the highway closed, they were left stranded on the road.
They’re not the only ones left on the highway, though. Lorentz said Syncrude buses were loading people from their vehicles, and taking people through Fort McMurray to an evacuation centre.
In an update late Wednesday morning, the Alberta government confirmed that 1,600 structures had been destroyed by the fire. The fire burning around the city was reported to be 7,500 hectares, which is about half the size of Regina.