Crews were holding a destructive wildfire away from oilsands facilities and communities in northern Alberta on Thursday as flames spread into neighbouring Saskatchewan.
The blaze, dubbed “the beast” by firefighters after it entered Fort McMurray two weeks ago, has grown to about 5,000 square kilometres in size, with nearly eight square kilometres stretching over the Saskatchewan boundary.
Alberta senior wildlife manager Chad Morrison said the fire has burned the same amount of forest as all fires consumed in Alberta last year.
But with recent success by firefighters on the ground and in the air — and forecasts for cooler, wetter weather — there was cautious optimism.
“The threat definitely has diminished around the communities and the oilsands facilities, for sure,” Morrison said.