Evacuees from fire-ravaged town may have nothing left

Monster Fort McMurray fire continues to sprea... 02:41

LAC LA BICHE, Alberta -- A tremendous wildfire in Alberta, Canada, now covers more than 385,000 acres. It is expected to grow substantially -- perhaps to double in size by Sunday morning.

Massive Alberta wildfire expected to double i... 02:07

Nearly 90,000 people have been evacuated from the city of Fort McMurray. Thousands who fled north are now being moved south as firefighters try to knock down giant walls of flames.

There are times when you can't tell if it's a fire or a volcano that just erupted. Giant stacks of smoke and flames reach for the sky, tearing through the drought-ravaged Canadian forest.

"We still expect this fire to more than double in size because of the high temperatures, strong winds and low humidities," Alberta wildfire protection manager Chad Morrison said. "The good news is that it still continues to move away from the community and oil sands facilities to the northeast."

With no significant rain in the forecast, the fire is nearly impossible to contain.

"I've met more heroes in this experience than I've ever thought existed," an emotional fire captain Adam Bugden said after returning from the front lines.

The winds are blowing the fire away from some of the towns that were in its path. That could save what is left of Fort McMurray.

Much of it looks like a bomb went off. Police say they discovered a family of five who had not evacuated and were thankfully not injured.

One homeowner who monitors his security cameras on his iPhone watched as flames devoured everything in his living room in less than two minutes.

"The town itself is a ghost town," said Brian Jean, who represents Fort McMurray in the Canadian assembly.

His house was burned to the ground earlier this week, and he says residents will not be returning home anytime soon.

Wildfires rage on in Alberta, Canada 02:45

"Services such as water, gas and electricity -- in some parts of town, it doesn't exist. In other parts, the pipes have collapsed," Jean told CBS News. "So it will take crews some period of time obviously to get things under control."

Thousands of people who fled Fort McMurray when fire ravaged the town are now filling evacuation centers throughout Alberta.

"I'm just hopeful there's something to go back to," said Sadie Cyrenne, who evacuated with her two daughters and her granddaughter, Nora.

Cyrenne said the past few days have been "good, because we're all together, but stressful because there are so many of us here."

About 2,500 evacuees have registered at one shelter and many more are on their way.

The big question people have is when will they be able to go home and what, if anything, will they be going home to.

  • Ben Tracy
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    Ben Tracy is a CBS News senior national and environmental correspondent based in Washington, D.C.