It literally went from like 0-100 in naught seconds flat. From what I've read, the fire wasn't that big of an issue until earlier today when the perfect storm happened with temperature, humidity and an insane amount of wind kicked it into over drive and shifted it towards the town. It's a city of 60 thousand plus and the region is about 125 thousand and one of the only links to the tar sands in the north. Right now people think the entire city might burn.
To make it worse, there's only two routes into the city, one to the north to the work camps and one south towards Edmonton. The one south was closed for a number of hours because the fire jumped the highway and they were forced to close it. From what I understand, a lot of the companies up north have been moving workers out so that they can house evacuees, though recently they were able to reopen the highway south so people are getting to Edmonton.
I've been involved in a number of forest fires within my region in British Columbia, but nothing ever to this extent or level of danger, its just crazy.
2nd May 2016
Well...balls. That must have been what Andy Chalk was talking about earlier on Twitter. At least they got everyone out in time and emptied the fuel stations. Seems like a pretty prompt and apt response.
So, in total 90k were evacuated and the fire is now 161,000 hectares — or 1,610 square kilometres in terms of area burned/on fire. It's predicted to get as big as 200k hectares by the end of Sunday and will just keep burning for some think weeks.
Last I heard too, RBC said damages are heading past the 9 Billion mark. Hell the fire is so bad Russia is offering to send planes and firefighters to help.
Its so bad.
2nd May 2016
My thread does predate Zap's though admittedly The pub seems like a more apt place for discussion on it.