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Fort McMurray wildfire doesn’t grow Sunday, but is still deemed ‘out of control’

A wildfire near Fort McMurray is still classified as out of control but has not grown since Saturday, Alberta Wildfire officials said.

The wildfire, approximately 5.5 kilometres southwest of the Fort McMurray landfill, is now 19,493 hectares — a reduction from Saturday.

An additional 12 millimetres of rain fell on the fire on Saturday and more rain is in the forecast, according to an update on Sunday.

Heavy equipment operators worked overnight and throughout the day Sunday on a containment line along the north and east sides of the wildfire.

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Firefighters are now able to access the fire line by ground transport and worked to extinguish hot spots on Sunday, officials said.

Highway 63 and Highway 881 are open, officials said, and traffic is flowing in both directions.

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A fire ban still remains in place in the Fort McMurray, High Level and Grande Prairie Forest areas. An off-highway vehicle restriction in the southern portion of the Fort McMurray Forest area is also in place.

The update comes after the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo lifted the evacuation order for residents in Fort McMurray on Saturday morning. Around 6,600 residents of Abasand, Beacon Hill, Grayling Terrace and Prairie Creek were forced to flee their homes on Tuesday afternoon due to the out-of-control wildfire.

The RWMB also lifted the state of local emergency as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

To date, 329 wildfires have been recorded in the Forest Protection Area. Of those, one is classified as out-of-control, two are classified as being held, 15 are under control, three have been turned over and 308 are extinguished.

There are 40 wildfires burning in the forest protection area of Alberta.

A total of 28,835 hectares have been burned to date, officials said.

— with files from Aaron Sousa, Global News

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