The size of the Fort McMurray wildfire hasn’t changed much over the weekend, and now Alberta Wildfire is changing their classification of the blaze. For the first time since it was spotted on May 1, the fire isn’t considered “out of control.”
The organization announced in a Facebook post Monday morning that the fire is now classified as “being held.” That means given current weather conditions and resources, “The Beast” isn’t expected to grow past its current boundaries.
“Alberta Wildfire is incredibly grateful for the hard work of our firefighters, support staff and partners who have stood by our side over the last month and a half,” the post read.
The fire stands at 589,687 hectares, making it larger than Prince Edward Island.
A lot of hard work has gone into securing the 996 km perimeter of the fire, which needed to be “cold” before the classification could change from “out of control.”
“We have to have guys patrolling that perimeter,” said Alberta Wildfire’s Bernie Schmitte. “We have to make sure that those areas aren’t posing any sort of threat to the unburned side of the perimeter.”
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry said in an update Monday evening that the fire had been over 80% contained, and over 550km of fire guard had been completed.
The fire is still not classified as “under control” and officials have warned that hot spots could flare up over the next several weeks, if not months, as crews try to put “The Beast” out of its misery.