Photos from the monster forest fire ravaging western Canada

Updated

Gusting winds and “tinder-dry” conditions were feeding the beast of a blaze in western Canada early Friday, as officials warned it could be days or weeks before evacuated locals can return home.

The fires in the province of Alberta forced 88,000 people to flee and destroyed more than 1,600 structures. Officials were waiting to see if it would be safe to get another convoy of evacuees out on Friday, according to local media.

Around 328 square miles have been scorched. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley praised the “herculean” firefighter response but warned late Thursday that the inferno could spread due to “tinder dry” conditions.

“They are very early days,” she told a press conference. “There is much more to do and more help will be needed.”

Notley acknowledged the frustrations of evacuated locals desperate for answers but urged patience.

“The damage to the community of Fort McMurray is extensive and the city is not safe for residents,” Notley said. “It is simply not possible, nor is it responsible to speculate on a time when citizens will be able to return. We do know that it will not be a matter of days,” she said.

More than 1,110 firefighters, 145 helicopters and 22 air tankers are fighting the fires.

Read more at NBCNews.com

Flames engulf trees along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 6, 2016. (Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty)
Flames engulf trees along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 6, 2016. Canadian police led convoys of cars through the burning ghost town of Fort McMurray Friday in a risky operation to get people to safety far to the south.
Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty
Home foundations and shells of vehicles are nearly all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)
Home foundations and shells of vehicles are nearly all that remain in a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
Trees charred by a wildfire continue to smolder along along Highway 63 on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)
Trees charred by a wildfire continue to smolder along along Highway 63 on May 6, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
Smoke billows from the Fort McMurray wildfires as a truck drives down the highway in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Smoke billows from the Fort McMurray wildfires as a truck drives down the highway in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters
Smoke billows in the sky near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 5, 2016. (Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty)
Smoke billows in the sky near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 5, 2016. The Province of Alberta has issued a State of Emergency as more than 85,000 hectares have been engulfed by the wildfires.
Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty
Drivers wait for clearance to take firefighting supplies into town on May 5, 2016 outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)
Drivers wait for clearance to take firefighting supplies into town on May 5, 2016 outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the "Bold Center" in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters
An evacuee from the Fort McMurray wildfires checks his phone at the "Bold Center" in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters)
An evacuee from the Fort McMurray wildfires checks his phone at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters
A plume of smoke hangs in the air as forest fires rage on in the distance in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 4, 2016. (Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty)
A plume of smoke hangs in the air as forest fires rage on in the distance in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 4, 2016. Numerous vehicles can be seen abandoned on the highways leading from the raging forest fires in Fort McMurray and neighboring communities have banded together to offer support in the form of food, water, and gasoline.
Photo by Cole Burston/AFP/Getty

A massive wildfire, which caused a mandatory evacuation, rages south of Fort McMurray near Anzac, Alberta, Canada May 4, 2016. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Handout/Reuters)
A massive wildfire, which caused a mandatory evacuation, rages south of Fort McMurray near Anzac, Alberta, Canada May 4, 2016.
Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Handout/Reuters
A helicopter flies into thick smoke while battling a major forest fire outside of Fort McMurray May 4, 2016. (Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters)
A helicopter flies into thick smoke while battling a major forest fire outside of Fort McMurray May 4, 2016.
Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters
A handout photo provided by the Canadian Armed Forces on May 5, 2016 shows a view of the wildfires in the Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 4, 2016. (Photo by MCpl Van Putten/Canadian Armed Forces/Handout/EPA)
A handout photo provided by the Canadian Armed Forces on May 5, 2016 shows a view of the wildfires in the Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 4, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have deployed air assets to the area to support the Province of Alberta’s emergency response efforts. Weather conditions were making it more difficult to extinguish a forest fire that has forced the evacuation of some 80,000 people from the northwestern Canadian city of Fort McMurray. Alberta provincial authorities estimated that at least some 1,600 buildings in the city have been consumed by the flames, which have not caused any deaths or injuries so far.
Photo by MCpl Van Putten/Canadian Armed Forces/Handout/EPA
Officers look on as smoke from Fort McMurray's raging wildfires billow into the air after their city was evacuated, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters)
Officers look on as smoke from Fort McMurray’s raging wildfires billow into the air after their city was evacuated, May 4, 2016.
Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters
A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., on May 4, 2016. (Photo by Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP)
A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., on May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires. Unseasonably hot temperatures combined with dry conditions have transformed the boreal forest in much of Alberta into a tinder box.
Photo by Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP
Wildfires burn in and around Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP)
Wildfires burn in and around Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada’s main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.
Photo by Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP
Fort McMurray resident Crystal Maltais buckles in her daughter, Mckennah Stapley, as they prepare to leave Conklin, Alberta, for Lac La Biche after evacuating their home in Fort McMurray on May 3, 2016. (Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters)
Fort McMurray resident Crystal Maltais buckles in her daughter, Mckennah Stapley, as they prepare to leave Conklin, Alberta, for Lac La Biche after evacuating their home in Fort McMurray on May 3, 2016.
Photo by Topher Seguin/Reuters
Traffic lines the highway as residents leave Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 3, 2016. (Photo by Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP)
Traffic lines the highway as residents leave Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 3, 2016.
Photo by Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP

Canada and Firefighters

Photos from the monster forest fire ravaging western Canada

Updated