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Fort McMurray wildfire: resident in convoy through community calls scene ‘very Apocalyptic’

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray Wildfire: Wildrose leader says 80% of Fort McMurray is OK In an interview Friday' Fort McMurray Wildfire: Wildrose leader says 80% of Fort McMurray is OK In an interview Friday
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said he feels more optimistic about rebuilding Fort McMurray after touring the community Friday. – May 6, 2016

Thousands of Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees who were forced to flee the fire north of the community earlier this week are now making their way south to safety.

At 6 a.m. Friday, the RCMP began escorting 50 vehicles at a time through Fort McMurray on Highway 63. Once safely through, the vehicles were being released from the convoy to head to accommodations in Edmonton and Calgary

Vehicles were not permitted to stop at any time but people who passed through the city said the sight was unbelievable.

“It was very Apocalyptic. It was very eerie. Never experienced anything like that in my life. Hopefully I never will,” Stuart McDonald, an evacuee, said.

“It’s terrible. It’s terrible. Things are burnt, it’s horrible,” Beverly Neal, who works at one of the camps that opened its doors to evacuees. “It’s not good at all.”

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READ MORE: Homeowner watches his Fort McMurray house burn on security cam

Video obtained by Global News shows thick smoke still lingering in parts of Fort McMurray, and the ruin as drivers pass through portions of neighbourhoods that have been levelled.

Watch below: A look at the devastation inside Fort McMurray

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray wildfire: a look at the devastation inside the community Thursday morning' Fort McMurray wildfire: a look at the devastation inside the community Thursday morning
Fort McMurray wildfire: a look at the devastation inside the community Thursday morning – May 5, 2016

While there is devastation, Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is feeling more optimistic after touring part of the community Friday. Jean, who has called Fort McMurray home for 50 years and lost his house in the fire, said he felt much more positive about the rebuild.

“We’re not out of the situation yet and we could still see some trouble depending on how the winds blow, but truthfully… today looks to be a little bit better of a day and we are looking, frankly, very optimistic considering where we could be today. Two days ago we thought it was going to be much worse.”

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He said about 80 to 85 per cent of homes are in perfect shape, as is the major infrastructure, including city hall and the hospital.

“That’s very good news because that’s the type of infrastructure that’s most difficult and takes the longest to rebuild.”

Watch below: Aerial footage shows the devastation in Fort McMurray’s Abasand and Beacon Hill neighbourhoods

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray wildfire: Aerial footage of the destruction in Abasand and Beacon Hill' Fort McMurray wildfire: Aerial footage of the destruction in Abasand and Beacon Hill
Fort McMurray wildfire: Aerial footage of the destruction in Abasand and Beacon Hill – May 7, 2016

Jean said some of the communities on the south side of the community are badly damaged, including Beacon Hills and his neighbourhood, Waterways.

“It wasn’t pleasant to come home and come to my front driveway and see that my truck was melted into the pavement, nor that my house was about a foot tall. But you know what did make me happy was the fact that nobody was hurt,” he said.

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READ MORE: How the Fort McMurray wildfire is creating its own weather

Jean said he is confident the community will band together to rebuild the community so it’s better than ever, and knows Canadians will be there to help.

“For years Fort McMurray has been supporting Canada and Alberta and now we need some back,” he said, holding back tears.

Watch below: Incredible footage takes us inside the fight against the Fort McMurray wildfire

Click to play video: 'Incredible footage takes us inside the fight against the Fort McMurray wildfire' Incredible footage takes us inside the fight against the Fort McMurray wildfire
Incredible footage takes us inside the fight against the Fort McMurray wildfire – May 6, 2016

By early Friday afternoon, about 1,200 to 1,400 vehicles had already made their way through Fort McMurray.

For the past few days about 25,000 evacuees have stayed at work camps north of Fort McMurray. They weren’t set up like other evacuation centres, but those who stayed in the camps said they were extremely appreciative of the accommodations and the hard work done to keep them safe.

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READ MORE: Image of firefighters resting after saving homes in Fort McMurray goes viral

About 7,000 people north of Fort McMurray were flown out Thursday night.

As of Friday afternoon, the wildfire was about 100,000 hectares in size. More than 80,000 people have been forced from their homes.

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A truck drives toward a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Friday, May 6, 2016. An ever-changing, volatile situation is fraying the nerves of residents and officials alike as a massive wildfire continues to bear down on the Fort McMurray area of northern Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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Seven firefighters take a break after battling the wildfire in Fort McMurray. (Strathcona County Emergency Services/Facebook)
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Media watch as smoke billows in the sky near a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Friday, May 6, 2016. The Alberta provincial government, which declared a state of emergency, said more than 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers were fighting the fire, but Chad Morrison, Alberta's manager of wildfire prevention, said rain is needed. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by:Imaging EN2016-0060-12. MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB
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A towering cumulus cloud forms, born out of the Fort McMurray fires on May 4, 2016. EPA/CHRIS SCHWARZ / GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Members from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Edmonton fly a CH-146 Griffon to view the damage created by wild fires in the Fort McMurray area on May 5, 2016.The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging EN2016-0060-13. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Aerial view of highway 63 south of Fort McMurray taken from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter on May 5, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces have air assets deployed in support of the Province of Alberta's wildfire emergency response efforts. Photo by: MCPL VanPutten, 3 CSDB Imaging
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire.
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire. Google / Terra Bella
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire. Google / Terra Bella
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire. Google / Terra Bella
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire. Google / Terra Bella
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Satellite imagery of the affected area from the Fort McMurray wildfire. Google / Terra Bella
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A wall of fire rages outside of Fort McMurray, Alta. Tuesday May 3, 2016. Mary Anne Sexsmith-Segato/The Canadian Press
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Evacuees leave Fort McMurray in the early morning after being stranded north of wildfires which have been raging in the northern Alberta city on Friday, May 6, 2016. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
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Drivers wait for clearance to take firefighting supplies into town on May 05, 2016 outside of Fort McMurray. Scott Olson/Getty Images
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A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday May 4, 2016. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
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A helicopter flies past a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday May 4, 2016. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
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Evacuees leave Fort McMurray in the early morning, after being stranded north of wildfires which have been raging in the northern Alberta city on Friday, May 6, 2016. The Alberta provincial government, which declared a state of emergency, said more than 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers were fighting the fire, but Chad Morrison, Alberta's manager of wildfire prevention, said rain is needed. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press
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Smoke fills the air as a small plane flies overhead in Fort McMurray, Alberta on Tuesday May 3, 2016. Kitty Cochrane/ The Canadian Press
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