Although three weeks have passed since the fire started, there remain over 1,000 firefighters and 50 helicopters in Fort McMurray, Canada to fight the wildfire raging there. One thousand more firefighters are expected in the next week and the fire remains “out of control.” The fire covers more than 522,000 hectares, but is no longer considered a threat to nearby communities. Also fortunately, gas and electricity have been restored to the surrounding areas, and residents will be allowed to start returning to their homes in the areas deemed safe starting in June.
Wildfires, also known as forest fires, grass fires, or even bushfires in Australia, are uncontrolled fires that usually happen in so-called “wild” areas uninhabited by people. However, they spread quickly, especially in times of drought, and can extend into areas where there are houses and other agricultural resources. They can burn twice as hot as the surface of Venus and reach higher than 50 meters (over 160 feet).