FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta, May 3 (UPI) -- A massive wildfire in northwest Canada has triggered the evacuation of nearly an entire city in Alberta province, authorities said Tuesday.
Officials advised residents of Fort McMurray to flee their homes as the blaze grew larger. Several homes have already been destroyed by the flames, fire officials said.
Ash from the wildfire fell onto the city's streets Tuesday, which were also crowded with the vehicles of everyone trying to leave. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated -- nearly the entire city, which has a population of 60,000, news media reported.
"This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province in terms of fire," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo issued a mandatory evacuation notice at 6:20 p.m. local time Tuesday.
"Be patient, drive safely and please give way to emergency vehicles," it said.
The municipality also posted an evacuation map for residents to follow.
Tuesday's evacuation was the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta's history, surpassing the Slave Lake fire five years ago, the CBC reported. The residents are being directed to take shelter at one of three locations away from Fort McMurray.
There were no initial reports on injuries.
"Everything I worked for the last two years, it's all gone," resident John Davidson said.
"It's a disaster. I think it's not fair. They didn't even let us take our things, so we lost everything," his girlfriend, Joanne Bates, added.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire had burned nearly 8,000 acres of land -- more than double its size Monday night. Officials said water tankers, helicopters and about 100 firefighters are battling the blaze.
"We're in for a very rough day," Wood Buffalo Fire Chief Darby Allen said Tuesday morning.