THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
People stop to take photos of a wildfire south of Fort McMurray, Alta., on Thursday May 5, 2016.
Three hundred firefighters on the ground and dozens more in the air continue to battle the most destructive wildfire Alberta has experienced in more than a century but, despite their best efforts, officials concede they are no match for the blaze.
The flames have consumed swaths of Fort McMurray and chased away most of the city’s residents — more than 80,000 people — in a panic-stricken last-minute mass evacuation that is already leaving emotional scars.
What began as a small brush fire outside city limits has grown into a raging inferno, increasing 10 times in size since the evacuation began Tuesday. It’s not known how the blaze started.
Thursday, the city’s fire chief and Alberta government officials admitted it was resisting most — but not all — containment efforts; it was becoming too large and too fierce for the 22 water bombers and other heavy equipment deployed to douse the fast-spreading flames.