Fort McMurray skyline was 'engulfed in flames,' says Island woman
'The skyline was lit up. It was engulfed in flames. It was pretty alarming,' says Katelyn Bruce
An Island woman living in Fort McMurray, Alta., initially thought people were overreacting about the wildfire in the community, but by yesterday afternoon, she found the situation quite alarming.
Katelyn Bruce from Souris has been living in Fort McMurray for 2.5 years and lives in the northern part of the city. The wildfire originally began in the southern end of the community.
On Tuesday, she was at work and was watching the smoke and fire in the distance. She said around lunchtime, there was a period of about 15 minutes where she didn't look at what was going on outside.
"The skyline was lit up. It was engulfed in flames. It was pretty alarming," said Bruce.
Oil camp accommodations
By late afternoon, the entire city of 60,000 had been ordered evacuated. Residents by the thousands fled the fire, and for hours caused gridlock on Highway 63.
When CBC News spoke with Bruce, she was heading out of town to be housed in an oil company's camp that lodges its workers.
Adding to the complication is that she had her cat and her landlord's two cats with her because the landlord is away.
"I don't know what's going to happen [with the cats once we get to the camp]," said Bruce.
The camp is about 50 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
'Stuck in traffic'
Patrick McKenna of Charlottetown was also on the same highway when CBC News spoke with him.
"We're pretty stuck in traffic," he said, noting that after three hours of driving, he and his girlfriend had only travelled what would normally take 20 minutes.
Although the highway is a divided one, he said traffic was being routed north on both sides.
McKenna wasn't sure where they were going to head.
"We actually packed camping gear, in the worst-case scenario," he said.
'Let's get out of here'
Just like Bruce, McKenna lives in the northern part of Fort McMurray. He says he and his girlfriend were going to let people stay at their place to stay safe.
"The fire got closer and closer and it got to the point where my eyes were stinging and it was getting quite dark around the house, so we ... we packed some food and stuff and took off and we saw a lot of traffic heading out of town as well, so that's kind of why we knew 'OK, let's get out of here,'" he said.
Bruce is hoping for the best for her community.
"Hopefully, there's not too many homes or communities lost," she said.
With files from Anjuli Patil
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