>> This street which was a residential street.>> Canadian officials on Monday getting their first glimpse of the oil sands boom town of Fort McMurray since the country's largest wildfire erupted and destroyed thousands of homes. Reuters correspondent Rod Nickel is there assessing the damage.>> This is a neighborhood of Beacon Hill in south Fort McMurray where about 70% of the homes are burned.
We're seeing them burned right down to the foundation. Cars still parked in the driveway, completely burned out.>> But Nickel says other parts of the city including the downtown business area were in better condition, causing officials to revise downward their damage estimates.>> Just a little bit over my left shoulder homes are perfectly intact and look like no fire even came through there.
Firefighters had to make a stand where they could and some blocks were saved where right across the street there was devastation. They stopped the fire with what looks to be less than a block to spare before it reached the hospital, along with some homes nearby.>> Officials said it was too early to know when the thousands of evacuees camped in nearby towns could go back to Fort McMurray, even if their homes were intact.
>> Fort McMurray is obviously completely a ghost town, other than emergency personnel and others who are part of the effort to make it safe again. The water is still contaminated. It's not fit for people to return to in the short term. So at this point, we just see the real sharp contrast in every part of town where some homes, some blocks were spared, some were not.
>> Fire officials said that cooler weather had slowed the fire's spread, but it's course remains unpredictable. Canada's Public Safety Minister saying it'll take rain to tame what's now often referred to as the beast. Government weather forecasts show the first possibility of rain on Wednesday with a 30% chance.