Canadian wildfire forces whole town to evacuate

AP News
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Posted: May 16, 2011 11:38 AM
Canadian wildfire forces whole town to evacuate

Wildfires blazing through a northern Canadian town have forced the evacuation of nearly 7,000 people.

Police say nearly one-third of buildings were destroyed after strong winds suddenly turned the flames on Slave Lake, Alberta. The fires kept raging Monday.

All residents were ordered to leave Sunday afternoon, but evacuation proved difficult as smoke and fast-moving flames blocked some of the highways.

Some fled to a town 130 kilometers (80 miles) away. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. Mike Proctor says the fire covered 9 square kilometers (3.5 square miles).

About 70 firefighters have been dispatched to Slave Lake from Edmonton, 250 kilometers (150 miles) to the south.