Fort McMurray wildfire now considered under control

The Fort McMurray wildfire, which forced the largest evacuation in Alberta's history and consumed more than 2,400 structures and nearly 600,000 hectares of forest, has been classified as under control, but extinguishing it could take until next summer.

Fire detected May 1 forced mass evacuation of city before consuming 589,552 hectares of forest lands

A firefighter extinguishes a hotspot in the Fort McMurray, Alta., fire. The 589,552-hectare wildfire is now considered under control. (Government of Alberta)

The Fort McMurray wildfire, which forced the largest evacuation in Alberta's history and consumed more than 2,400 structures and nearly 600,000 hectares of forest, is now classified as under control.

Cooler temperatures, rain and firefighting efforts combined to bring the fire to heel, wildfire information officer Laura Stewart said Tuesday.

The wildfire hazard in the Fort McMurray region is now classified as low.

The fire's status was downgraded Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. MT, Stewart said.

Nonetheless, a lot of work remains as firefighters continue to look for and put out hotspots, she said.

The next phase is to extinguish the fire, which will likely take until the summer of 2017, she said.  

The fire was detected May 1. On May 3, it entered Fort McMurray, forcing a mass evacuation of the city's 80,000 residents.

At its peak, the fire moved at 30 to 40 metres per minute and created its own weather patterns. 

The fire moved east towards the Saskatchewan border, covering 589,552 hectares.

While investigators believe the fire was started by humans, it's still not known exactly how it began.