May 05, 2016 - 5:48 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - We know a thing or two about wildfires in the B.C. Interior, but the wildfire that sent nearly 90,000 people fleeing Fort McMurray is beyond anything we have seen in the region.
According to Alberta Wildfire, the massive fire has reached 85,000 hectares — roughly 850 square kilometres — and destroyed at least 1,600 structures, as of late afternoon today, May 5.
To put it in perspective, the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Fire which burned 239 homes consumed 25,000 hectares of land. The Barriere-McLure fire in the same year burned 26,000 hectares along with 72 homes. The Garnet fire near Penticton in 1994 burned 5,500 hectares. The largest fire in B.C.'s history was just two years ago. The Chelaslie River wildfire grew to 1,331 square kilometres — more than 133,000 hectares.
Below is a rough estimate of what the Fort McMurray fire would look like compared to the four largest cities in our region. Macleans magazine has more maps comparing the fire to major cities in Canada and around the world. A timeline of the growth of the Fort McMurray fire shows an explosion of grown since Wednesday when the Alberta government declared a provincial state of emergency.
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