The forest fire burning in the Richardson backcountry area, north of Fort McMurray, is the third largest ever, covering more than 325,000 hectares. A recorded two other larger fires; the 1950 Chinchaga fire and the 1981 Keane fire, each of which burned 409,000 hectares are the only two to have been reported larger than this one.
Firefighters from out of province are expected to arrive this weekend to assist in fighting the burning rampage. The largest water bomber in the world, the Martin Mars, is flying in from BC to aid in this battle in the oil sands area. The Martin Mars has a water capacity of 27,000 litres on each flight and will be based at Gregoire Lake.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development officials say only essential personnel are being kept on site at the oil sands. My husband, who frequently works in Fort McMurray, said he was told anyone with asthma had been told not to report to work in the oilsands due to the local smoke.
It is reported that no property nor lives are in immediate danger as the fire burns uncontrolled in the boreal forest, on either side of the Athabasca River.