Looming Fires Are Forcing Thousands Of Canadians To Evacuate

Colossal wildfires continue to burn across Canada, driving thousands of people to evacuate with kids, pets and precious belongings in tow – many uncertain when they may be able to return home.

Firefighters battling more than 100 blazes across the country could see temporary relief in some regions as a large mid-week storm tracks through western and central Canada, bringing increased chances of rain and blasts of cooler air.

Even so, several volatile fires are raging within miles of neighborhoods. Fire officials warn slight changes in weather conditions or wind direction could quickly place nearby homes and businesses at risk.

More than 6,000 people have evacuated from Fort McMurray in Alberta since Tuesday as a 51,000 acre fire burns less than 5 miles from the city’s edge. Residents should plan to be away from their homes until at least May 21, possibly longer, the regional municipality said.

The fire near Fort McMurray was still active Wednesday, but winds were expected to begin pushing the blaze away from the city and its major highway, Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Josee St-Onge said. Rain showers are forecast to begin in the area Wednesday night and drop up to 1 inch of rain through tomorrow.

Around-the-clock firefighting efforts have helped keep the flames at bay, including water helicopters equipped with night vision. Firefighters – some of them defending their own communities – have also been pulling grueling and dangerous shifts.

Read full story at CNN News.