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Fire makes northern run forcing evacuations north of Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Fire makes northern run forcing evacuations north of Fort McMurray

Heavy smoke hangs in the air as workers are told to evacuate Noralta Wolverine on May 16, 2016 // Photo by Mike Hoskins

Over 500 oilsands workers have been moved north of Suncor and Syncrude as “The Beast” made a northerly run this afternoon.

Premier Rachel Notley swiftly called a press conference for 6 p.m. where she told reporters that the fire had skirted the western edge of Timberlea and crossed Tower Road.

Wildfier Manager Chad Morrison says 200 firefighters are on the ground in Timberlea to watch for ember spread from the fire, but he said the existing burn scar from the fire should protect the community.

However attempts to hold the line along Tower Road through a dozer guard failed, and the fire jumped the road to head towards camps and the large oilsands facilities.

Camps between Fort McMurray and Suncor/Syncrude have been evacuated, and the facilities themselves are engaging in precautionary evacuations. All non-essential personnel are being moved north, while the rest are engaging in shut-in procedures.

The fire currently sits between 15-20km from the sites.

Morrison said that the winds are “in their worst spot” this evening, and if fire crews can hold the line they should have more favourable conditions tomorrow.

The fire is expected to calm down between 8 and 9 p.m. tonight, but is currently moving at a pace of 30-40 metres-per-minute.

Rebuilding crews inside Fort McMurray have also been gathered at MacDonald Island Park and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre for precautionary reasons.

List of camps evacuated:

  • Noralta
  • Poplar Creek (Birch)
  • Poplar Creek Lodge
  • Blacksands
  • Baseline
  • Mackay River
  • Brion Dover
  • Brion Ops Corp Camp
  • Brion Construction Camp B
  • STP Mackay Lodge
  • Brion Dover South Base (Thickwood)
  • South Pacific Resources

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