"I don't think anyone really knew or could have foreseen how fast the fire was raging and how quickly it would reach the population downtown," Stuffco told CTV News. "It was unreal how things unfolded so quickly."
Evacuating residents clogged Highway 63 as they fled the burning city. Many gas stations are now totally emptied of fuel along escape routes, leaving residents stranded. Shelters are quickly filling up with people who now have no homes to return to. Firefighters on the ground told CBC that an entire neighborhood has been burned to the ground, but there is no way to assess the extent of the damage yet. A dangerous combination of dry weather and heat are leaving firefighters facing explosive conditions.
"All our efforts to control and contain the fire were challenged by this extreme fire behavior," forestry manager Bernie Schmitte told CNN. "Efforts were also hampered by smoke conditions. Basically fire behavior was beyond all control efforts."
The firefighters will be getting a break in the weather this week, which should help with firefighting efforts. CNN reported that the unusually high temperatures will soon break. The main problem for firefighters now is the strong winds, which are coming in from several directions. Despite the destruction and frantic evacuation, no injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the fire. The cause of the blaze remains unclear.