City of 80,000 people evacuated as raging wildfire wipes out neighbourhoods

Some 80,000 people in the Canadian city of Fort McMurray have been told to get out as a massive wildfire approaches. They were issued with a mandatory evacuation order for the city, where entire neighbourhoods have been destroyed by flames. The city’s main southern exit, Highway 63, has been closed leaving residents to head north with thousands pouring into Edmonton. Alberta has asked for help from other provinces to help fight the fire - which now stretches for 2,650 hectares - and airlift people from the city.

My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau

A local radio reporter said a trailer park that was evacuated on Monday was on fire and flames were heading towards businesses. Carina Van Heerde, with radio station KAOS, said: “It’s chaos on the roads. People are panicking. It’s gridlock on the roads. Flames are right next to a gas station." Carol Christian said she was very scared as she drove to an evacuation centre with her son and cat. She said: "It was absolutely horrifying when we were sitting there in traffic. You look up and then you watch all the trees candle-topping … up the hills where you live and you’re thinking: ‘Oh my God. We got out just in time’.”

When you leave… it’s an overwhelming feeling to think that you’ll never see your house again.

Resident Carol Christian