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 The fire currently covers an area larger than New York City and is being fanned by winds and feeding on dry vegetation.

The flames are now moving away from the town, most of whose inhabitants have now reached safety.

More than 80,000 people were evacuated from the city earlier this week.

Most fled south but many fled north. A land convoy evacuating people from oil worker camps in the north on Friday was suspended after 200ft (60m) flames flanked the road.

The provincial government said on Friday that the fire had grown to 1,000 sq km (386 sq miles).

Wildfire prevention manager Chad Morrison said there was a "high potential that the fire could double in size" by the end of Saturday.

But he added that it would expand into a more remote forested area north-east of Fort McMurray.

Dry conditions and 27C heat were expected during the day, but cooler temperatures would prevail and there was a possibility of rain on Sunday and Monday.
At the scene: The BBC's James Cook, Highway 63, Alberta

Twenty minutes south of Fort McMurray, the road forks into two branches. By noon on Friday, both were ablaze on either side.

We watched with the police as the skies filled with grey and black smoke and flames roared into the air, devouring even the tallest pine trees.

The danger, said one officer, was "tentacles growing out of the fire", which could end up looping around and trapping people.

There are no reports of injuries or deaths but several residents who may have survived the fire have apparently been spotted in Fort McMurray. Teams are now sweeping the city in case any homeless people were left behind.

There is also concern about oil facilities, particularly near Nexen's Long Lake oil extraction site.

"We're looking at a blast area of about 14 kilometres if that plant were to go," said Sgt Jack Poitras.

Tens of thousands were evacuated by air with 300 flights to the provincial capital Edmonton since Tuesday. Another 4,000 are due to leave on Saturday.