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Canada's Fort McMurray wildfire forces evacuations, no impact on oil sands

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An uncontrolled wildfire burning near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, the heart of Canada's oil sands region, has forced the evacuation of nearly all the city's 80,000 residents, local authorities said on Tuesday.

[ALBERT] An uncontrolled wildfire burning near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, the heart of Canada's oil sands region, has forced the evacuation of nearly all the city's 80,000 residents, local authorities said on Tuesday.

However, the 2650 hectare-fire, which was discovered on May 1, is not close to any oil sands facilities, according to Alberta government online maps.

The fire is burning approximately six kms (four miles) southwest of Fort McMurray and on Tuesday morning spread across the Athabasca river.

Chief Darby Allen of the Fort McMurray fire department said 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) temperatures and light winds forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday would make the blaze difficult to control.

Most oil sands facilities are to the north and east of the city, which is located around 430 km (267 miles)northeast of Alberta's capital Edmonton.

REUTERS