Smoke forces shut-down of Syncrude operations near Fort McMurray, workers evacuated
Published Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:19AM MDT
Heat waves are seen as cars and trucks try and get past a wild fire 16km south of Fort McMurray on Highway 63 Friday, May 6, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
With high winds and warm weather expected to fuel the massive wildfire in Fort McMurray on Saturday, Syncrude has shut-down all operations at its Mildred Lake site.
According to officials, there is no immediate threat from fire, however smoke had reached the site prompting a “safe and orderly shut-down of operations.”
“In order to ensure the safety of our personnel and the integrity of our operations, we are taking all units offline in a safe and orderly manner,” officials said in a statement.
The company, one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic crude oil, intends to have “all units and all personnel” evacuated from the site by Sunday.
“Syncrude will bring units back online when there is no risk to personnel or operations. Despite these extraordinary measures, the jobs and pay of our more than 4,800 employees are secure,” said officials.
As of 10 p.m. Friday evening, the wildfire had grown to more than 156,000 hectares.
Mildred Lake is located about 40 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
1/3 Syncrude has made decision to shut down operations and remove all personnel from site. This includes both mines and Upgrader. #ymmfire— Syncrude Canada Ltd. (@SyncrudeCanada) May 7, 2016
2/3 We have made this decision to ensure the safety of our personnel and the integrity of our operations. #ymmfire— Syncrude Canada Ltd. (@SyncrudeCanada) May 7, 2016
3/3 While there is no immediate threat from fire, smoke is now present on our Mildred Lake site. #ymmfire— Syncrude Canada Ltd. (@SyncrudeCanada) May 7, 2016