It seems to be one step forward two steps back in the battle against the Fort McMurray wildfire.
In the latest update from the province Tuesday morning we’ve learned that 10 more homes have been damaged by flare-ups in Fort McMurray, and a lodge at a work camp has been destroyed as the wildfire continues to grow.
Premier Rachel Notley says the fire has grown considerably since yesterday to over 3500 square kilometres.
Yesterday the fire forced 8,000 workers out of camps, most of whom evacuated to the north. Now, word that one lodge has been destroyed by fire and others are threatened.
“Black Sands Lodge, privately operated accommodation for oilsands workers, has been destroyed by fire. 665 units were lost. Other facilities, including Noralta Lodge, which has 3700 rooms, and Birch Creek, which has 360 rooms are evacuated and currently at risk.”
In Fort McMurray 10 homes in the Dickinsfield and Thickwood areas were damaged by two explosions. Firefighters quickly put out the fires.
Given the recent events Notley says the province and the RM of Wood Buffalo are taking a second look at their re-entry plan. She says safety is the number one priority.
While better than yesterday, the air quality remains extremely poor in the area, and forced staff working to clean the hospital, and natural gas utility workers to leave the area.
Meanwhile, the premier says over 30,000 pre-paid debit cards have now been distributed for evacuees.
She says also over 10,000 evacuees participated in a telephone town hall held Monday night. Another one will be held tonight.