'Almost biblical': Fort McMurray wildfire named biggest weather event of 2016

The “beast” of a wildfire that charred Fort McMurray, Alta., was named Canada’s biggest weather story of the year in an annual list compiled by the country’s top meteorologists.

The list, which also includes the melting Arctic Sea ice and one of the warmest Novembers on record, was created by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and Environment Canada’s chief climatologist, David Phillips.

The wildfire forced nearly 90,000 people to desert Canada’s oilsands region and reduced thousands of homes to ash in early May, after unseasonably hot, dry weather.

“It was almost biblical,” Phillips said.

The dry forest floor acted as kindling for the fire, and high winds blew the flames over highways and rivers. Flames shot high into the air.

Flames flare up from hotspots along a highway to Fort McMurray, Alta on May 8. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

The heat…

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