2 die in fiery crash on Highway 881 south of Fort McMurray

A section of a major highway out of Fort McMurray is shut down after a crash between an SUV and a tractor trailer killed two people.

Fire retardant dumped from air on tractor trailer, SUV crash

Smoke from the crash could be seen from kilometres away, according to a witness. (Stephen Barkley)

A section of a major highway out of Fort McMurray is shut down after a crash between an SUV and a tractor trailer killed two people.

Lac La Biche RCMP say the collision happened on Highway 881 at Range Road 94 near the Heart Lake First Nation. 

The driver and passenger of the SUV were declared dead at the scene. RCMP could not be reached to confirm what time the collision happened.

Minister of Municipal Affairs, Danielle Larivee, confirmed the fatalities Wednesday afternoon during a media availability about the Fort McMurray wildfire that continues to rage out of control, and resulted in the evacuation of the entire city.

"We do know there are fatalities associated with that collision, however we're still not sure of the association with the evacuation," she said. 

Black smoke seen from kilometres away

Paul McLeod said he came upon the fiery collision when he was driving south on Highway 881 on Wednesday afternoon.

He noticed the black smoke up ahead but kept driving another 10 or 15 minutes, while helicopters circled overhead.

"We come up to a complete stop and they've got a whole fleet of bombers active on this fire, dumped red fire retardant on it," he said. "Doing everything they can to keep it down."

McLeod said he was trying to get out of Fort McMurray, and went in search of food and water for himself, a passenger and their three dogs.

He said he took Highway 881 because he thought it would be faster than Highway 63, where drivers are now being diverted.

"There's a huge lineup of traffic here," he said. "We're trying to get out of Fort McMurray. And now we're sitting here stuck on 881 because there's another fire."
(Stephen Barkley)