As of Wednesday, nearly 2,000 buildings had been burned beyond repair. This fire is being called the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history, and may go down as the costliest wildfire in all of North America. The blaze started on Sunday, intensified suddenly on Tuesday, and is currently ”out of control.”

Evacuation orders have expanded to towns south of Fort McMurray, including some places where Fort McMurray residents had decamped to for safe haven.

A recent drought and milder-than-usual winter provided the dry conditions fueling the fire. Speculation that it’s connected to global climate change and fitting retribution for fossil fuel use has not been received well, least of all by the fire’s victims. Still, some observers are calling Fort McMurray residents “climate change refugees.”

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