The situation around a ferocious wildfire that forced the evacuation of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray remains unpredictable and dangerous, the authorities said Saturday, warning that weather conditions were still hampering efforts to fight it.
This remains a big, out of control, dangerous fire,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said.
Some 1,570 square kilometers (606 square miles) had been devastated since the start of the inferno in Alberta`s parched oil sands region last Sunday, he said.
And the fire had grown by an additional 50 percent in less than 24 hours, he told a televised news conference.
“There is one prediction — that if it continues to grow at the present pace, it could double today,” he warned.
But with the direction of the wind toward the east, “there would not appear to be imminent danger to another community,” he added.
The situation remains highly worrying nevertheless, he said.
“It looks like the weather in and around Fort McMurray will still be, sadly, very conducive to serious burning conditions,” Goodale said.
“The situation remains unpredictable and dangerous.”
The authorities have recorded no fatalities directly linked to the blaze so far, the minister said.
However, two young girls died in a road accident in the middle of the week when their vehicle was caught in the flood of people fleeing Fort McMurray.