Change in weather bringing relief to firefighters battling Canadian wildfire

Irish Journalist, living in Alberta, speaks about the latest developments in the fight against the 397,000 acre blaze

firefighter, weather, conditions, battle, canada, alberta, fort mcmurray

Fire trucks drive toward smoke from a wildfire near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Image: Rachel La Corte / AP/Press Association Images

Officials in Alberta say they are making progress in the battle to bring the Canadian wildfire under control, that has put entire communities in danger.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning Irish Journalist Conor Murray, who is living in Edmonton, spoke of recent developments in the weather which are helping firefighters to control the blaze.

He said: "In the last hour, fire fighters have been reporting that there is some rain coming in.... It also looks like temperatures are starting to drop a little bit".

It is still unclear as to how long the rain will last but it does provide some relief for those fighting to keep the flames under control.

The wildfire grew in size on Saturday into Sunday, but not as much as expected. It is now at around 16,000sq.km of area.

For a period, it was feared that the fire could spread to the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan.

Up to 88,000 people have so far been displaced as a result of the fire - most have taken refuge in the city of Edmonton, south of Fort McMurray.

However, "people are preparing for the worst" as the fire threatens to keep the people from their homes for a long time.

Conor Murray said: "Atleast 1600 homes have been destroyed. Some neighbourhoods are 90% gone."

So far, the blaze has been kept out of the downtown core of Fort McMurray which should save a lot of the businesses and commercial areas in the town.

The origins of the fire are not yet known. Murray believes "it's a combination of extremely hot weather for this time of year and the El Nino effect".

There are concerns that if the hot weather continues summertime will bring more wildfires to the area.

No deaths or injuries have been reported from the fire itself but two youngsters died in a traffic accident during the evacuation.

Fifteen-year-old Emily Ryan and her stepmother's nephew, Aaron Hodgson, died in the crash.

The monster blaze has become the country's costliest ever natural disaster.