Smoke rises from a wildfire east of Slave Lake, Alberta, on 25 May 2015 in a photo supplied by the Alberta Wildfire Info department. A wildfire raging in northeastern Alberta has shut down around 233,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production at three oil sands projects and is expected to remain out of control for 'some while yet', a provincial government spokesman said on Monday. Over the weekend, Cenovus Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd evacuated staff and halted output at two sites as a precaution against the rapidly spreading forest fire. Photo: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD)

23 May 2015 (CBC News) – Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources Limited have evacuated their facilities within the Cold Lake Air Weapons range, close to Alberta's eastern border, due to an out-of-control forest fire in the area.

"Yesterday, CNRL evacuated their plant facilities in the Primrose area and then, last night at 11 o'clock, we advised Cenovus in Foster Creek that it would be a good precautionary move to evacuate their personnel as well," said  Leslie Lozinski, spokeswoman for the province's environmental and resource ministry.

Cenovus evacuated their facilities at Foster Creek because the fire threatened the only road out, which would have made any evacuation of the facility difficult.

Rhona Delfrari, spokeswoman for the company, said there were approximately 1,800 staff on site last night before the evacuation started early Saturday morning. By the afternoon, only a handful of staff were left over to shut down the plant before escaping by helicopter.

"As far as we know right now, there is no threat from the fire to our facilities, it was more about the road being blocked off from the fire," said Delfrari. […]

As for an entire facility being engulfed by flames, Stauth says it's unlikely.

The facilities are built far from the tree lines, Stauth said. "So we're not anticipating that our facilities would get taken over by flames, just because there's no vegetation anywhere near the facilities." [more]

Alberta forest fire forces evacuation of oilsands facilities



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