Photos from the monster forest fire ravaging western Canada

  • The charred remains of a tree stands over the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town.
  • Evacuees sit outside of bungalows in a Canada North Camps (CNC) lodge in the Wandering River community, south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 10, 2016.
  • Ornamental flowers adorn the fence in front of a burned home in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 9, 2016 after wildfires forced the evacuation of the town.
  • Smoke fills the air as a police officer stands guard at a roadblock along Highway 63 leading into Fort McMurray on May 8, 2016 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 
  • Tara Payne with sons Caleb (L) and Koltyn after they gave her a Mother’s Day rose at a donation center established to help evacuees forced from their homes by the Fort McMurray wildfire, May 8, 2016 in Winding River, Alberta. 
  • Emma Van Duinkerken tosses a ball with new friends at a camp in Wandering River after evacuating Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, due to raging wildfires on May 8, 2016. 
  • Smoke from wildfires drifts across the night sky on May 7, 2016 near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 
  • Smoke and flames from the wildfires erupt behind a car on the highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 7, 2016.
  • Chris Reid and his son Noah eat dinner at an evacuation center on May 7, 2016 in Lac La Biche, Alberta.
  • Home foundations and skeletons of possessions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town. 
  • Home foundations and skeletons of possessions are all that remain in parts of a residential neighborhood destroyed by a wildfire on May 7, 2016 in Fort McMurray, Canada. Wildfires, which are still burning out of control, have forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents from the town.
  • Smoke rises from wildfires burning in this aerial photograph taken above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 6, 2016. The wildfires ravaging Canada’s oil hub in northern Alberta have rapidly spread to an area bigger than New York city, prompting the air lift of more than 8,000 evacuees as firefighters seek to salvage critical infrastructure.
  • A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck pass a road block 16kms south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, on Friday, May 6, 2016.
  • People wait at a roadblock as smoke rises from wildfires near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 2016.
  • Police officers direct traffic under a cloud of smoke from a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 6, 2016. Officials said shifting winds were giving the embattled northern Alberta city a break, but they added the fire that forced 80,000 people from their homes remained out of control and was likely to burn for weeks.
  • 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.
  • A wildfire burns as evacuees who were stranded north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada head south of Fort McMurray on Highway 63 on May 6, 2016.
  • Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires, Dave Wendel, and his son Colt, who were escorted through the Fort McMurray after being stranded north of the city today, pack up their trailer in Wandering River, Alberta, Canada on May 6, 2016.
  • Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires look through donated supplies in Lac la Biche, Alberta on May 6, 2016. More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada’ oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings.
  • 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.
  • Smouldering trees can be seen along the highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 6, 2016. Canadian police led convoys of cars through the burning ghost town of Fort McMurray on Friday in a risky operation to get people to safety far to the south. In the latest chapter of the drama triggered by monster fires in Alberta’s oil sands region, the convoys of 50 cars at a time are driving through the city at about 50-60 kilometers per hour (30-40 miles per hour), TV footage showed.
  • Smoke billows from the Fort McMurray wildfires as a truck drives down the highway in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
  • 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.
  • Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
  • An evacuee from the Fort McMurray wildfires checks his phone at the “Bold Center” in Lac la Biche, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016.
  • A massive wildfire, which caused a mandatory evacuation, rages south of Fort McMurray near Anzac, Alberta, Canada May 4, 2016.
  • A helicopter flies into thick smoke while battling a major forest fire outside of Fort McMurray May 4, 2016.
  • Smoke rises above trees as a wildfire burns in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires that have already torched homes and other buildings in Canada’s main oil sands city of Fort McMurray, forcing thousands of residents to flee.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Traffic lines the highway as residents leave Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on May 3, 2016.

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Updated

Canadian officials cautiously hailed a turning point in the battle to contain a raging wildfire, saying a combination of cooler temperatures and light rain was ushering in a new phase in the fight.

The inferno in Alberta ignited on May 1, triggering a massive evacuation of Fort McMurray. Since then the blaze has scorched 397,831 acres — some 620 square miles — and destroyed some 1,600 structures.

But for the first time since the flames erupted authorities sounded an optimistic note on Sunday, saying they were entering a second phase of stabilization now that cooler temperatures are on the horizon.

Alberta wildfire official Chad Morrison said he was “very, very happy” to have “good news” on Sunday thanks to “a little help from Mother Nature and a bit of a break from the weather.”

Read more at NBCNews.com. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed.
 

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