Canada’s oil sands hub threatened by wildfire, sparking large evacuations
(Reuters) A large wildfire is slowly approaching the major Canadian oil sands city of Fort McMurray and around 6,000 people in four suburbs have been told to evacuate, local officials said on Tuesday.

The fire, fueled by tinder-dry conditions and high winds, has been threatening the city in the western province of Alberta since last week. It is now about 7.5 km (4.7 miles) away from the Fort McMurray landfill, authorities said in an update.

They also expressed hope that a favorable wind shift was expected Tuesday night, which could lead to winds from the west-northwest pushing the fire away from Fort McMurray.

In addition to the harm that may befall people and property, the fire puts a large portion of Canada’s oil production at risk. Fort McMurray is the hub for the country’s oil-sands output and a huge wildfire in 2016 forced the evacuation of 90,000 residents and shut in more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of output.

Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Josee St-Onge earlier said the blaze grew significantly on Tuesday and noted winds from the southwest were gusting as high as 40 km per hour (24.8 mph).