|A state of Emergency has been declared in Fort McMurray. The "catastrophic" wildfire has now destroyed 1,600 homes and buildings and has consumed more than 10,000 hectares.|
It is expected to rage out of control through the rest of the day.
|Fort McMurray has always been about the oilsands, one of the largest deposits of fossil fuels on the planet. Abasands Oil was the first to successfully extract oil from the oil sands through hot water extraction by the 1930s. |
In 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor) plant opened and Fort McMurray's growth soon took off. More oil sands plants were opened up, especially after 1973 and 1979, when serious political tensions and conflicts in the Middle East triggered oil price spikes. The population of the town reached 6,847 by 1971 and climbed to 31,000 by 1981, a year after its incorporation as a city.
|Through booms and bust the city continued to grow. The oil price increases since 2003 have made oil extraction profitable again and today upwards of 80,000 reside in Fort McMurray.|
|This winter the area experienced virtually no snowfall, and an unusually dry and hot spring made the forest tinder dry.|
Temperatures remain exceptionally hot.
|The largest evacuation in Alberta history is ongoing as people flee and their homes burn. |
As global temperatures soar into uncharted, record territory, Fort McMurray is the new normal. Northern British Columbia and Saskatchewan are experiencing the same conditions and these scenes are very likely to be repeated.