At least 2,400 buildings have been wiped out in the massive fire in Fort McMurray.
But the local fire chief, Darby Allen, says 85% of the city itself remains intact, despite the devastating blaze.
The chief says says that between 40 and 50% of Fort McMurray could have been destroyed if firefighters hadn’t been able to hold back the flames at key points.
Premier Rachel Notley says Alberta’s first responders stepped up at a time when they were needed most.
“These are true Alberta heros. People who have been working flat out day and night. These are people whose fast, skilled actions saved tens of thousands of lives and a whole city.”
Media tour of Fort McMurray
Meanwhile, Brad Wisker of our sister station 630 CHED in Edmonton toured the devastation today.
“We went over to the Abasand neighbourhood where the destruction continued, the fire ripped through here quite quickly with devastation on both sides of the road we are parked on right now. It’s unimaginable to think about what these evacuees went through when the fire ripped through this part of Fort McMurray.”
Majority of structures in Fort McMurray still intact
Wisker says the downtown was relatively untouched by the fire.
“Local Fire Chief Darby Allen said when the fire hit the Beacon Hill region it was like a beast, an animal, like nothing he has ever seen before. He also said “home is still here and we will get you back when we can.” Allen said 85% of structures are still intact in Fort McMurray.”
However, large areas of the city have no water, power or gas and it’s still unsafe for residents to return.