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Fort McMurray evacuee says people felt like 'sitting ducks' as fire approached

After another challenging day for firefighters and other first responders, evacuees face another overwhelming day as people try to stay ahead of the flames. But questions are emerging over the pace of evacuation and the paucity of routes available to get out of the city.
Fort McMurray resident, who fled the wildfire, says people felt like 'sitting ducks' as fire approached 1:02
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"It's a nasty, ugly fire, and it is not showing any forgiveness," says Fire Chief Darby Allen. But as evacuees face another overwhelming day trying to escape the ravenous flames, some question the pace of the evacuation and the paucity of routes available to get out of the city.

Crystal Mercredi, one of the residents who fled to Lac La Biche, south of Fort McMurray, said the evacuation call happened too late. 

"They evacuated us so late. So late that people were stuck in traffic, and people were calling the radio station, saying...'We're bumper-to-bumper. We can't move. Come and save us...we're sitting ducks."

The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti spoke to Mercredi several hours after her family made a daring escape.

Crystal Mercredi, Fort McMurray resident, who fled the wildfire, criticizes evacuation plan 0:45

Nearly 90,000 people have now fled the flames of Fort McMurray. The powerful fire continues to shift and threaten many who have fled its path. Those who went north of Fort McMurray are cut off from the south by flames. And some of those who fled to points more south to safe communities have had to move again as the winds shift and the fire veers their way.    

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      Guests in this segment:

      • Briar Stewart, CBC reporter, covering the wildfires in northern Alberta. She was in Conklin, 150 kilometres south of Fort McMurray. 
      • Crystal Mercredi, Fort McMurray resident evacuated in Lac la Biche, Alberta 
      • Melissa Blake, mayor of the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo.   

      This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio, Ines Colabrese and Sarah Grant.