A fire fueled by shifting winds that forced more than 80,000 people to flee their homes and disrupted oil-sands operations in Western Canada is poised to expand.
Lesson:Don't Fuck With Mother Nature,She'll Fuck Back
Traffic – When The Eagle Flies Lyrics
When the eagle flies you'd better watch your eyes
He's gonna sweep everything in his path
And when the heavens cry it's gonna drown the sky
And you'll get caught in the aftermath
When the mountains move it's no good trying
To prove that you've been doing everything you can
And don't you start to cry when you're about to die
You gotta stand up and take it like a man
Because you've been taking instead of giving
And all the while you've been living lies
Economics, all your atomics
Ain't gonna save you from that bird in the sky
And when the good times roll wrapped up in your mink coat
You will be stepping from your Cadillac
You will be stepping from your Cadillac
And in a micro flash you're gonna feel the lash
Of big eagle's wing across your back
And when the seas subside you'll see him glide right out of view
In clouds of snow the rains will come
And wash away the scum so that all the little flowers can grow
There'll be no more taking, only giving
And the sun pouring down
No economics and no atomics
Just the spread of Mother Nature's gown
Do you hear me, Mother Nature? ...
Songwriters: WINWOOD, STEVE/CAPALDI, JIM
With a few neighborhoods already in ruins, worsening fire conditions Wednesday pushed walls of flames toward thousands of more homes in the northeastern Alberta town, in the heart of Canada's oil sands region.
The winds also pushed flames toward the local airport, with webcam images showing black smoke engulfing the airport late on Wednesday evening. Officials confirmed that a hotel north of main terminal had caught fire.
As flames fanned south, officials also issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities located about 50 km south of Fort McMurray.
Officials on the scene were forced to evacuate their make-shift emergency operations center for the second time in the span of less than a day as the flames spread south. Officials at the center said in a tweet that they were relocating to the town of Lac La Biche some 250 km south of Anzac.
Authorities said there had been no known casualties from the blaze itself, but fatalities were reported in at least one car crash among the evacuees. Thousands bunked down in arenas, hockey rinks and oil work camps, often short of fuel and food.
A huge cloud of black smoke was visible from well over 60 km (37 miles) away from the town. Traffic on the main road headed south had thinned to a trickle, however, after major jams on Tuesday when the evacuation order was given.
Stretches of the highway had been converted into make-shift campgrounds by people in cars, trucks and recreation vehicles, who were fleeing the inferno.
Firefighting crews have been unable to stop the wildfire, which has charred 18,500 acres (7,500 hectares) since it erupted on Sunday and exploded in ferocity.
"It is a possibility that we may lose a large portion of the town," said Scott Long, an official with Alberta's emergency management agency.
Major oil sands facilities were not in the path of the flames, but companies' efforts to help employees and evacuees and protect pipelines led to a decline in production.
Images from the neighborhood of Beacon Hill in the city's southeast showed rows of charred house foundations, their upper stories burned to the ground, and blankets of white ash within. Officials said 80 percent of houses in the neighborhood, nearly 600 in total, were destroyed.
The regional government said two other neighborhoods, Abasand and Waterways, had sustained "serious loss." Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said a total of about 1,600 structures have been destroyed in Fort McMurray."There are certainly areas within the city that have not been burned, but this fire will look for them and it will find them and it will want to take them," said Chief Darby Allen of the Fort McMurray fire department.
The province declared a state of emergency for what was shaping up to be Canada's costliest natural disaster