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Wildfire forces evacuation order near Fort McMurray

A view of Fort McMurray, Alta., on April 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

Hundreds of residents in four neighbourhoods in the southern end of Fort McMurray have been ordered out as a wildfire threatens the community.

The Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo said residents in Beacon Hill, Abasand, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace needed to leave by 4 p.m.

The rural municipality says the residents in the four neighbourhoods are being ordered out to clear room for crews to fight the fire, which has moved to within 13 kilometres of the landfill on the boundary of the community.

An emergency evacuation warning remains in place for the rest of Fort McMurray and the communities of Saprae Creek, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation No. 468, Anzac and Rickards Landing Industrial Park.

Those residents have been told to prepare to leave on short notice.

Residents were also dealing with heavy smoke and ash.

The fire has grown to about 96 square kilometres and remains out of control.

It has also moved to within 13 kilometres of highways 63 and 881, the main roads south out of Fort McMurray.

Crews continued to build a fire guard to protect the city of 68,000, which saw a mass evacuation and wildfire that destroyed 2,400 homes in 2016.