On May 5, the Government of Alberta gave an update on the fires, stating that the fire had grown to 85 thousand hectares in size at that time. On Wednesday, May 18 the provincial government announced the fire had grown to 423,000 hectares in size.
In Wednesday’s update, Premier Rachel Notley said a conditional timeline for re-entry into Fort Mac is now in place. Residents who were forced to flee their homes on May 3rd could potentially move back to the city as early as June 1st.
The June 1 move back date is contingent on if the area is safe enough for people to return. Weather in the area is contributing to the government’s optimism, having been cooler and more humid recently bringing down some much-needed rain.
Residents of Fort McMurray can use an online mapping website created by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to assess the status of their homes and businesses. The site allows you to enter your address and then brings up an aerial view of the property.
Journalists and residents have been taking to social media to show the continued effects of the fire. In the last few hours, reports are showing the fire has now grown to just over half a million hectares in size and has crossed the Saskatchewan border.
— Anthony Farnell (@AnthonyFarnell) May 19, 2016
— Johanna Wagstaffe (@JWagstaffe) May 19, 2016
Heading to safety thanks to Craig! @katynicolea #ymmfires #evacuation2 A photo posted by yvonne_leforr (@yvonne_leforr) on
Air quality a big problem here in Fort Mac. In some spots it’s hard to even see 50 metres in front of you. @globalcalgary #wildfires #Alberta #ymmfires A video posted by Jayme Doll (@dolljayme) on