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Most of Canada’s oil-sands production shut down


Murray Fire

The Fort McMurray fire continues to threaten homes and businesses in Alberta, Canada.

About 2,400 homes and buildings were destroyed, but officials said firefighters saved 25,000 others in the city, including the hospital, municipal buildings and every functioning school.

Officials plan to go back into the city on Monday for a preliminary assessment but they say it will take time before people can return home – even if their own homes aren’t damaged.

Most of the people who work those oil jobs come from Fort McMurray, and are now without home, and work.

Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire said it was not uncommon to fight such an inferno in forested areas for months.

Marissa Hees, a resident of Fort McMurray, said she and her husband, two dogs, a cat and seven kittens left the town several days as the blaze ripped through it. Going back through the town, it felt like going through a war-torn place still blanked with many smokes, she said.

More than 500 firefighters, alongside 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers, are battling the blazes.

But the wider picture was more optimistic as officials said 85 percent to 90 percent of the city remains intact, including the downtown district.

Regional officials said on Facebook that firefighters were getting their first break since the fire began a week ago, after being relieved by reinforcements.

Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada.

The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, tweeted a picture of the rainfall and wrote: “It was only for a few minutes but the sight of rain has never been so good”.

Morrison of Alberta Wildfire called the forecast “great firefighting weather”. Notley said there will be a meeting Tuesday with the energy industry to discuss the state of the facilities and the impact on operations.

The wildfire scorching through Canada’s oil sands region in northeast Alberta had been expected to double in size on Sunday, threatening the neighboring province of Saskatchewan, as it moved into its seventh day.

With the awful event not yet contained, it’s already considered the largest evacuation ever in Alberta as people from north and south of Fort McMurray flee to safer ground.

Two deaths have been reported due to the wildfire, Notley said, both in traffic accidents during the evacuation last week. “As they move through, they’ll get this, they’ll move it from out of control to being held and then under control as we move through our processes”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed a multi-year commitment by the national government to rebuild Fort McMurray.

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