Canada Wildfires Rage as State of Emergency Declared

PHOTO: A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., On May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires.PlayJason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP
WATCH Canadian City Threatened by Devastating Wildfire

Amid raging wildfires in Alberta, Canada, the provincial government has declared a state of emergency as two more communities prepared to evacuate overnight Wednesday.

         
              
                     
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                SLIDESHOW: Residents Return to Canadian Town Devastated by Wildfires             
        
    
    

Some of the 80,000 residents who had fled Fort McMurray to Anzac after a mandatory evacuation notice were told just after midnight that they would have to move again.

"Buses are being assembled," authorities said in a statement, adding they were "going door to door " and urging people to "remain calm."

Six reception centers were operating within the province, officials said at a news conference.

More than 250 firefighters, helicopters and air tankers were fighting the fires that have extended over more than 24,000 acres. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced that a "Memorandum of Understanding" has been signed with the Canadian Armed Forces for air support to assist with transportation as needed.

Residents were advised by the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo to clear out Anzac, Gregoire Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation because of the changing weather patterns.

In the latest official estimates for Fort McMurray, the Beaconhill neighborhood has lost 70 percent of homes, Abasand 50 percent, Waterways lost 90 percent and around 30 houses were lost in Wood Buffalo. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

"At this point the fire is still under investigation,” senior manager Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire Prevention told a news conference. “At this point we're working with investigators to determine if it's either lighting or human-caused fire and we won't know that for a couple of days.”

The fires were exacerbated by high temperatures - nearly 90 degrees - and low relative humidity, wildfire manager Bernie Schmitte of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry told reporters.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered his personal condolences, pledging the "total support" of the federal government in containing and combating the remaining wildfires.

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