Edmonton

Help coming to fight 'nasty, ugly fire' in Fort McMurray

Fire agencies across Alberta are stepping up to help with what the fire chief of Fort McMurray is calling a “nasty, ugly fire” that is showing no forgiveness.

Newfoundland offers support, while feds are 'standing by' to offer assistance

Darby Allen, the fire chief of the Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality, says Tuesday was the worst day of his career. (CBC )

Fire agencies across Alberta are stepping up to help with what the fire chief of Fort McMurray is calling a "nasty, ugly fire" that is showing no forgiveness.

"It's the worst day of my career," said Darby Allen, his voice trembling with emotion. "The people here are devastated, everyone's devastated, the community is going to be devastated. This is going to go on. This is going to take us awhile to come back from. But we'll come back."

The fire, which had been threatening the northern Alberta city for the past three days, suddenly flared up due to heat, low humidity and high winds. The entire city is now under an evacuation order.

But help is on the way. A spokeswoman for Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee says Edmonton, Slave Lake, Strathcona County, Cold Lake and Parkland County are among 14 Alberta municipalities sending help.

Edmonton fire Chief Ken Block confirmed 18 staff, two pumper units and two tanker units were heading to Fort McMurray as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

He said Edmonton received an official request for help at 4:20 p.m. The city is also sending an Edmonton Transit bus to carry extra air bottles and gear. Two mechanics from fleet services are also accompanying the firefighters.

"It's a major situation they're experiencing," Block said about the Fort McMurray wildfires. "The unfortunate part is that we're probably seven hours away from being able to get up there to help them out. They'll be doing what they can do and certainly our 18 personnel and four units they're sending up should help them a lot."

The RCMP has sent members from across Alberta to help the Fort McMurray detachment.

Ralph Goodale, federal minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said his government is watching the situation.

"I have spoken with my provincial counterpart, Minister Larivee, to say that we are standing by to provide assistance to Alberta," he said in a statement. 

Dwight Ball, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, sent a message on Twitter stating that his province is ready to help.

"We have 2 water bombers, incident mgmt staff, firefighters and support staff to help Fort McMurray if needed," he said.

However, B.C. isn't able to help.

Alberta asked B.C. for assistance earlier Tuesday but they can't lend crews. The province is dealing with its own fire situation. In the Peace region of B.C. firefighters are battling 48 fires and four evacuation alerts.

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