Rains help crews battling big fires

Wet weather is expected to help firefighters battling a big blaze in northeastern Alberta.

Duty Officer Cory Davis at Alberta's Forest Fire Command Centre in Edmonton gathers information on Wednesday from the field to ensure the fire-fighting resources are in the right place.

Duty Officer Cory Davis at Alberta's Forest Fire Command Centre in Edmonton gathers information on Wednesday from the field to ensure the fire-fighting resources are in the right place.

EDMONTON — Wet weather is expected to help firefighters battling a big blaze in northeastern Alberta.

Since strong winds stoked it up in mid-May, the fire has burned its way through roughly 5,800 square kilometres of forest — an area about the size of Prince Edward Island.

Although fire officials report that forests in the area remain extremely dry, rain is expected over the next few days. Forecasters expect the precipitation to continue through the weekend.

Almost 380 firefighters are on the scene. Most of those resources are concentrated on the southern end of the fire, which is about 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray and near the province’s oilsands deposits and mines.

Crews report there has been no major growth over the last few days on that section of the fire. Northeast winds are driving the flames in a different direction.

The fire has also spread north, however, into Wood Buffalo National Park

There were just under three dozen fires burning in Alberta on Wednesday.

The amount of forest burned to date is now up to about 7,000 square kilometres — almost 60 times the five-year average.