Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

 Cars stream out of Fort McMurray, fleeing the wild fire. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Tar Sands Boomtown Blaze Still 'Burning Out of Control'

Officials estimate that the devastating Fort McMurray fire will have doubled in size by Sunday's end

Lauren McCauley

The Alberta wildfire that has been dubbed The Beast and described as a post-apocalyptic nightmare is still burning "out of control,"  according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who gave a briefing Saturday afternoon in Edmonton.

"In no way is this fire under control," she reiterated.

Fire officials said Sunday that the fire will soon reach neighboring province Saskatchewan as the blaze is expected to double in size over the course of the weekend due to the high temperatures and gusting winds, growing to an estimated 3,000 square kilometers.

According to reports, "the forecast for Sunday is a mix of sun and cloud, with a few showers expected Sunday night, ending overnight. Wind from the west will range in speeds from 30 km/h to 50 km/h, and the temperature is expected to reach a high of 17 C." 

Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfires said during a late Saturday briefing that "Unless we have a significant rain event of 100 millimetres of rain, we expect to be out fighting the fire in the forested area for months to come."

More than 1,600 structures have burned in Fort McMurray and over 80,000 people have been evacuated from the tar sands boom town where the fire began a week ago.

On Friday, under police escort, thousands of people previously trapped by the flames traveled in a convoy of 1,500 cars through the heart of the fire south to salvation.

Residents described what they saw as a "war zone" and an "atrocity."

"I hadn’t cried until I got there and then saw what I drive by every day going to Walmart or whatever. It was so green and so full, and then to just be gone," said Jennifer Gonyou. Her husband, Melvin, said the smoke was a blessing: "You’re almost thankful that there was so much smoke in the area so you couldn’t see everything."

The province remains in a state of emergency.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Analysis: 26 US Billionaires Paid Average Tax Rate of Just 4.8% in Recent Years

"When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing," said Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness.

Jake Johnson ·


'We Were Expecting This,' Says Family After Israel Says No Criminal Probe Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

The development came as leading international artists called for "meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians."

Andrea Germanos ·


'I Simply Cannot Stand By': Jayapal Endorses Cisneros Against Anti-Abortion Incumbent Cuellar

"At a time when our reproductive freedoms are under attack by an extremist Supreme Court, we must elect pro-choice candidates that will fight to make sure abortion remains the law of the land."

Jake Johnson ·


Progressives Condemn DCCC Chair for 'Disgraceful' Self-Dealing in NY Primary Debacle

Sunrise NYC denounced Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's plan to run against progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones "and potentially sacrifice the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in the process."

Kenny Stancil ·


In Telling Slip, George W. Bush Condemns the 'Unjustified and Brutal Invasion of Iraq'

"It's hard to get past the nihilistic evil of killing hundreds of thousands, making millions into refugees, and turning it into stand-up to defuse the awkwardness of your hypocrisy," responded one journalist.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo