Nearly a week after wildfires forced 88,000 people from their homes in Fort McMurray, hundreds of firefighters are still working to contain the growing blaze in and around the Canadian city in Alberta.
The Alberta government said in a statement Sunday that fire conditions remain “extreme,” with a total of 34 wildfires burning in the province. The blaze now covers 161,000 hectares, or about 398,000 acres—16 times its original size last week.
Dry conditions and high temperatures stoked the flames over the weekend. The forecast this week predicts cooler temperatures, with highs around 13 degrees Celsius, or about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But the area badly needs rain to help quell the flames. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, where Fort McMurray is located, celebrated a brief rain shower Sunday morning:
Several government officials, Fort McMurray’s fire chief, and reporters traveled to Fort McMurray Monday to survey the damage. Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta, warned Sunday that “there will be some dramatic images coming from media over the next couple of days,” CBC News reported. “I want to reiterate mental-health supports are available for anyone who needs help,” she said at a press conference.