Some growth in fire south of Fort McMurray.

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta— A fire ban and off-highway-vehicle restrictions are in effect for the Fort McMurray Forest Area. No outdoor fires, barbecues using charcoal, or fireworks are allowed under the current rules. Any use of off-highway vehicles, including on trails, is strictly prohibited.

The fire raging south of Fort McMurray experienced some growth on Wednesday according to Alberta Wildfire. As of 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, the fire was burning 5.5km from the Fort McMurray landfill, and 4.5 km from the junction of Highways 63 and 881. An updated size was not available from Alberta Wildfire; however, the most recent mapping listed the fire as 20,940 hectares.

Throughout Wednesday, crews worked to establish a containment line along the fire, while helicopters and air tankers engaged in aerial wildfire suppression. Heavy equipment is working around the clock to build fireguards southwest of Fort McMurray.

An incident management team was brought in earlier this week for MWF-017 and Alberta Wildfire and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo have entered into a unified command and will work together to manage this wildfire.

There are also 141 firefighters, 21 helicopters and 57 pieces of heavy equipment working on the wildfire.

Structural protection has been put in place for the Prairie Creek and Beacon Hill neighbourhoods, as well as on the Rickards Landing Industrial Park, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Gregoire Lake 176. Additional structural protection is being deployed for the community of Abasand.

Authorities say the fire was still active on Wednesday, but somewhat more subdued than earlier this week due to cooler temperatures in the region. Forecasters are predicting winds blowing from the east at 10 km/h on Thursday.

A new fire designated MWF-024 began on Wednesday afternoon approximately 3 km north of the Parsons Creek subdivision. It grew to just under 1.0 hectares and remains out of control. Officials with Alberta Wildfire say the blaze does not pose any risk to communities.

An evacuation order remains in effect for Abasand, Beacon Hill, Grayling Terrace, and Prairie Creek. Under the order, residents are required to vacate these neighbourhoods.  The RMWB expects this order to last until at least May 21, 2024.

An evacuation alert is in place for Fort McMurray, Draper, Saprae Creek, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation # 468, Anzac, and Rickards Landing Industrial Park and residents are asked to be ready to leave on short notice if required.

Meanwhile, Alberta RCMP have issued a statement highlighting their work to ensure the safety of the public and property during the ongoing evacuation and State of Local Emergency.

An additional 40 officers have been brought into the RMWB to secure the community. The police say they employ several strategies during wildfire emergencies to keep communities safe. Officers tightly control entry and exit to vacated areas to ensure only authorized people have access to neighborhoods. Police also conduct regular patrols looking for any signs of danger or criminal activity. The RCMP also maintains Special Tactical Operations and Emergency Response Teams to quickly react to any issues that arise

The fire is also affecting some services in our region. Canada Post has issued a notice that mail will not be delivered to the communities of Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, and Conklin due to the ongoing situation. Mail delivery for Fort Chipewyan will continue, but items may be delayed.

Both the Fort McMurray Public and Catholic School Divisions are canceling the Grade 9 Provincial Achievement Tests (PAT) scheduled for May 13-17th. The tests will not be rescheduled. However, the PAT scheduled for June will still take place.

More from play 103.7