Some 8,000 workers at oil camps north of the fire-ravaged Canadian city of Fort McMurray have been ordered out of the area as authorities continue the battle to bring resurgent wildfires under control. The mandatory evacuation zone was extended to 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the city, whose 80,000 residents have been out of their homes for more than two weeks. Suncor, one of the major operators working on Canada’s oil sands, said it had “started a staged and orderly shutdown of our base plant operations” and that personnel were being transported to work camps further north.
Alberta Health Services has recommended that members of the public who had been previously arranging to return to the area under various requests not return until those conditions improve.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley
The workers had been trying to restart oil production at the facilities after they were halted by the fires and by the need to house a flood of people from Fort McMurray seeking safety. The fire destroyed more than 2,400 structures in Fort McMurray, although firefighters managed to save essential infrastructure in the oil sands capital, including the hospital, water treatment plant and the airport. Crews continued to battle hot spots on the edge of Fort McMurray on Monday while the first still raged out of control deeper in the forest. Hot, dry conditions were not helping firefighters. Earlier, officials warned the air quality in the Fort McMurray area was dangerously poor.