Canada's tar sands center a victim of Mother Earth's climate change vengeance
Without rain, massive Fort McMurray wildfire expected to keep growing'Let me be clear, air tankers are not going to stop this fire,' official says
By Rick McConnell, CBC News
Last Updated: May 05, 2016 6:41 PM MT
Fire officials in Alberta do not yet know what started a massive wildfire that chased the entire population out of Fort McMurray, but they now know the only force that can stop it will be a significant change in the weather.
Supercharged by winds of up to 70 km/h, the wildfire ballooned to 85,000 hectares overnight and is now raging on several fronts near the oilsands city.
The main fire, now south of the city, is expected to come.
More than 100 firefighters, and 10 helicopters and 16 air tankers are fighting the wildfire, with more resources on the way.
In addition to the firefighters battling the blaze in the boreal forest, more than 200 firefighters and 25 fire trucks are in the city itself, protecting homes and buildings.
But in tinder-dry conditions and with winds constantly shifting, all of that manpower alone cannot stop the inferno, said senior wildfire manager Chad Morrison.
"Let me be clear, air tankers are not going to stop this fire," Morrison said.