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Firefighters, massive water bomber help fight largest Alberta fire in decades

More out-of-province firefighters are arriving in Alberta this weekend to help tackle the province’s largest forest fire in 30 years.

It is feared that strong winds forecast for Friday afternoon could bolster a blaze burning in the Richardson backcountry that has already covered over 300-thousand hectares.

The province has recorded only two other larger fires; the 1950 Chinchaga fire and the 1981 Keane fire, each of which burned 409,000 hectares.

Alberta Sustainable Resource Development officials say oil companies in the region are continuing to reduce non-essential staff.

Meanwhile, the largest water bomber in the world is flying to Alberta from B.C. to help fight wildfires in the oilsands region.

The Martin Mars is to begin dropping huge loads of water Saturday on the Richardson backcountry fires.

The four-engine Martin Mars is to be based on Gregoire Lake. The Second World War-era aircraft can scoop up 27,000 litres of water for each flight.

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