Fort McMurray wildfire is finally ‘being held’

June 15, 2016

By: Edmonton Journal

The Fort McMurray wildfire is no longer growing.

On Monday morning, the province announced it had updated its condition to “being held.” However, this does not mean the fire is under control.

Wildfire information officer Lynn Daina said that “being held” means that, with current weather conditions and resources, the flames were not expected to grow past expected boundaries.

“When it is under control, that means we will have it completely contained and it will be extinguished,” she said. “It’s so dependent on the weather, but given the resources we have, we’re looking at a month or two when there is no more smoke.”

The fire covers 589,617 hectares. There are 1,035 firefighters and forestry workers battling the flames, joined by 47 helicopters.

The province also has 133 pieces of heavy equipment building fire breaks. There are 540 kilometres of dozer guard around the fire. Daina says the fire is 88-per-cent contained.

“We will be doing infrared scanning to monitor its size and determine where hot spots are,” said Daina.

While the province says the threat to Fort McMurray has passed, the Fort McMurray Fire Department is warning residents that flare-ups near the city will not be uncommon this summer. Last week, deputy chief Brad Grainger said crews were still battling hot spots near the city.

However, last month’s fire consumed so much forest that the burned areas have created a natural buffer around the city.

By: Edmonton Journal

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