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Canada: firefighters optimistic cooler temperatures will help battle blazing inferno

Firefighters in Canada are hoping recent light rains and cooler temperatures will help them battle the wildfire that has been raging for more than a

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Canada: firefighters optimistic cooler temperatures will help battle blazing inferno

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Firefighters in Canada are hoping recent light rains and cooler temperatures will help them battle the wildfire that has been raging for more than a week.

Around a fifth of homes have been destroyed and more than 100,000 local residents forced to flee from Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.

Alberta is under a state of emergency and air quality warnings are in place in neighbouring Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

NASA satellites captured images of the inferno, which is blazing just south of a number of the region’s oil refineries.

It is not clear how the fire started. It spread rapidly at first but grew at a slower pace than expected over the weekend.

Fuelled by hot weather and tinder dry ground, the blaze now covers more than 1,600 sq km of Alberta.

On Sunday (May 8), firefighters spoke of being able to get a “death grip” on the blaze. But, despite their optimism, the longer-term outlook is bleak.

Thousands were forced to spend Mother’s Day in temporary shelters and local MP David Yurdiga told the media it could be years before Fort McMurray is fully operational again.