UPDATE (2:06 p.m.)
Beacon Hill, Abasand, and the area of Thickwood between Real Martin Drive and Thicket Drive have been placed under a voluntary evacuation notice. Residents should have their kits prepared, and be ready for a mandatory evacuation with 30 minutes notice.
UPDATE 2 (1:40 p.m.)
Fort McMurray Golf Club has been evacuated according to the RMWB.
UPDATE 1 (1:20 p.m.)
Bernie Schmitte from Alberta Wildfire Management appeared on Fort McMurray Matters at noon. He explained that the northern flank of the fire poses a higher risk due to the heat of the fire. He also gave a detailed explanation as to the smoke plumes that we could see, and are seeing already.
He added that people should not be trying to get closer to the fire to get good pictures. When vehicles or people are seen in proximity to the fire, air crews cannot drop water and fire retardant. When drones are spotted, the aircraft leave the area for their own safety.
You can listen to the interview here.
The massive wildfire burning to the south and west of Fort McMurray made a westerly run yesterday evening, jumping the Athabasca River to set off a fire on the north banks.
Alberta Wildfire Management’s Bernie Schmitte told media at a press conference this morning that the fire is five hectares in size and is 15 kilometres away from residences.
An air crew is on the scene trying to keep the fire contained though conditions aren’t favourable today with the high set to reach 30 degrees Celsius and winds coming out of the south-west which will push the fire to the north-east.
Although the fire grew last night, the eastern tip is still being kept 1.2 kilometres away from Highway 63 and Airport Road.
Officials say they expect the fire to break into a full crown fire this hour which would see fire jumping from tree to tree rather than spreading on the ground.
The fire size now is approximately 2,600 hectares compared to 1,285 yesterday.
The fire is still 1.2 kilometres west of Highway 63 and the Airport Road and has not crossed the Hangingstone River.
The north side of the fire is where the focus will be today for fire crews with weather conditions and wind are expected to make the fire extremely challenging.
Centennial Park is still under a mandatory evacuation order while Prairie Creek and Gregoire remain as voluntary shelter in place areas.
Air quality remains a potential risk for residents of the Gregoire area and is subject to wind conditions.
Evacuees still needing a place to stay should go to the reception are at MacDonald Island Park. Residents should use the north side entrance by the golf course.
Food and bedding will be provided but pet owners should bring their pet resources such as a cage, food, and medications.
As for the north fire near Taiga Nova Industrial Park, officials say fire control has been successful with four municipal firefighters conducting burn abatement in the area and checking for hot spots.