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Status of wildfire that threatened Fort McMurray changed to 'being held'

A firefighters monitors a wildfire sprinkler hose on May 16, 2024, in the evacuated neighbourhood of Grayling Terrace in Fort McMurray, Alta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press) A firefighters monitors a wildfire sprinkler hose on May 16, 2024, in the evacuated neighbourhood of Grayling Terrace in Fort McMurray, Alta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
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A wildfire that forced thousands of people to evacuate several Fort McMurray neighbourhoods last week is no longer classified as out-of-control.

Alberta Wildfire says the blaze, which is still burning south of the city and is close to 200 square kilometres in size, was re-classified to "being held" as of late Sunday.

In announcing the change on social media, Alberta Wildfire says recent rain allowed firefighters and heavy equipment operators to make excellent progress on containing the fire.

About 6,600 residents of the Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace neighbourhoods were forced to hastily leave their homes on Tuesday, but rainy weather late last week helped firefighters contain the flames and all of the evacuees were allowed to return on Saturday.

An evacuation alert for the entire city of Fort McMurray, which told residents they should be ready to leave at short notice, was lifted at the same time.

Alberta Wildfire says over 40 millimetres of rain has fallen on the fire since May 16.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2024.

Correction

This story previously incorrectly reported the fire was 2,000 square kilometres in size. It is 200 square kilometres in size. 

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