Canada wildfire threatens new province

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Convoys continued on Saturday, with all those stuck north of Fort McMurray due to be evacuated by the end of the day

A huge wildfire raging in the Canadian province of Alberta is growing further and could spill in to neighbouring Saskatchewan, officials say.

Hot, dry and windy conditions are hampering efforts by hundreds of firefighters to tackle the blaze.

The flames have already caused the evacuation of 80,000 people from the oil city of Fort McMurray.

Thousands are still stuck north of the city but the authorities hope to finish their evacuation by the end of the day.

“The Fort McMurray wildfire is still burning out of control,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

“Temperatures are forecast to be in the high twenties with winds gusting up to 40km/h (25mph). In these conditions officials tell us the fire may double in size in the forested areas today.”

Media captionA surveillance camera shows fire ripping through a home in Fort McMurray

At more than 1,500 sq km (579 sq mi), the blaze already covers an area the size of London.

There is the possibility of rain on Sunday and Monday, and the fire is spreading into remote wooded areas minimising its danger.

Earlier this week, most evacuees headed south but some fled north, sheltering in work camps beyond Fort McMurray.

Thousands have since been shuttled out by road and air, with small convoys passing through the fire-ravaged city on Saturday.

Ms Notley said the goal was to complete the evacuations by the end of Saturday.

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Getty Images

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The huge blaze left scenes like this in Fort McMurray

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Hot, dry weather is helping the fire spread

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The fire is now bearing down on the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan

The blaze has ruined entire neighbourhoods, with residents warned it could be some time before they could return.

Despite the mandatory order to leave, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have said they found an elderly man and a family of five in Fort McMurray. They were led to safety.

Some 1,600 homes and other buildings have been lost but no deaths or injuries have been reported.

See how the Fort McMurray fires spread

4 May 2016

3 May 2016

Fort McMurray is in the heart of Canada’s oil sands country, and the region has the world’s third-largest reserves of oil.

As much as a quarter of the country’s oil production has been halted by the fire, raising concerns about the effect on the Canadian economy.

There are warnings the blaze could burn to the edge of a facility run by Suncor Energy but officials said the site is highly resistant to fire damage.

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