WATCH: Canadian wildfire spreads to over 210,000 acres

More than 1,600 homes have been torched so far

Canada, wildfire, Alberta, Fort McMurray, evacuations, oil production, damage

Image: YouTube/KenBarrie

A raging wildfire in Canada which has grown to over 210,000 acres is said to be driving one of the largest evacuations in North America in recent memory.

The uncontrolled blaze in Alberta has already displaced at least 88,000 people in the oil sands city of Fort McMurray.

Mandatory evacuation orders have now been issued for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation areas - all of which are about 30 miles (50km) away from where the fire began on Thursday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the fire as "the largest fire evacuation in Alberta's history".

Bill Stewart, co-director of the University of California's Centre for Fire Research and Outreach at the University of California, Berkeley, said with few exceptions in the US, an entire town has not been threatened on this scale for more than 100 years.

"You could add five times the number of firefighters, but you can't get all the embers," he added. "There's no way to put out every ember flying over firefighters' heads".

More than 1,600 homes have been torched so far as the wildfire thrived in unseasonably hot temperatures and windy conditions.

"Nothing short of terrifying"

Television footage showed the smouldering remains of a large motor home park, and the blackened carcasses of cars consumed by the flames.

Mr Trudeau told Canada's parliament: "Homes have been destroyed. Neighbourhoods have gone up in flames".

"The footage we've seen of cars racing down highways while fire races on all sides is nothing short of terrifying".

Temporary shelters and emergency operation centres which were being used to house evacuees and offer support have been forced to relocate because of the spreading flames - with one makeshift centre now 175 miles south of Fort McMurray.

Scott Long, an Alberta official, has said it is possible "a large portion" of Fort McMurray has been lost and a state of emergency has been declared.

More than 1,110 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers are fighting a total of 49 fires, with seven of them burning out of control.

Alberta's Environment Minister Shannon Phillips has declared a province-wide fire ban in an effort to reduce the risk of more blazes, adding: "It is a very rare step".

No one has died as a result of the wildfire, but it is already having huge economic consequences for the city.

Oil production in the area has been shut down, with global oil prices driven up.

An estimated 640,000 barrels per day of crude output is offline, which is about 16% of Canada's production, and the outage could increase.

Fortunately, major oil sands facilities have not been in the path of the flames so far.

Footage has also emerged of a plane leaving Fort McMurray as the flames rage.