Amazing photograph shows the Canadian smoke plume from space
An image from space showing the smoke plume from a forest fire that engulfed a Canadian city and force thousands to evacuate shows just how staggering the impact of the blaze has been.
Jeff Williams, a Nasa astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS), shared the image on his Twitter feed with the caption: "Canadian smoke plume."
Mr Williams returned to the ISS in March for his second American record-breaking launch where during his six-month mission, he will become the new American record holder for cumulative days in space: 534.
The huge forest fire that prompted the evacuation of Fort McMurrayremained out of control on Wednesday but cooler, more humid weather slowed its advance, Canadian officials said.
All told, crews were battling 20 fires in Alberta province, although Fort McMurray's was the only one still out of control, as it spread east. Half the province's 1,500 firefighters were assigned to fight it.
The blaze has now burned more than 884 square miles of land and destroyed some 2,400 homes and other buildings.
The entire city of 100,000 people was evacuated last week. Its suburbs suffered major damage, but not the city centre.
Still, the toll is expected to be staggering.
"We know already the damage resulting from the wildfires will be in the billions and take years to recover," said Conrad Sauve, head of the Canadian Red Cross.
Of 67 million Canadian dollars (£36 million) raised by the Red Cross over the past week, $50 million will be handed over immediately to people evacuated because of the fire, Mr Sauve told a news conference.
The Red Cross will hand out 600 Canadian dollars per adult and 300 dollars for each of their dependents.
The federal and provincial governments have pledged to match every dollar raised by the Red Cross.
The risk of fire in western Canada remains high because of dry and unseasonably hot weather in recent weeks.