LAC LA BICHE, Alberta – A community recreation center has become a lifeline for thousands of evacuees from the massive wildfire raging north of the small city of Lac La Biche in Alberta.
A gymnasium area with basketball hoops at The Bold Center has been converted to a mall of sorts, with bins of shoes and tables overflowing with clothes and towels, free to all who need them.
Upstairs, health and mental services are offered, and an animal care center has been set up for people to kennel their pets on site.
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.
Officials said the fire had grown to 101,000 hectares (250,000 acres) or about 1,000 square kilometers (390 square miles). No deaths or injuries were reported.