Thou­sands evac­u­ated

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

About 8,000 work­ers at oil camps north of the fir­erav­aged Cana­dian city of Fort McMur­ray have been or­dered to evac­u­ate as au­thor­i­ties con­tin­ued the bat­tle to bring wild­fires un­der con­trol.

The manda­tory evac­u­a­tion zone was ex­tended to 50km 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, is­sued a news re­lease con­firm­ing it had “started a staged and or­derly shut­down of our base plant op­er­a­tions” and that per­son­nel were be­ing trans­ported to work camps fur­ther north. It stressed there has been no dam­age to Sun­cor in­fras­truc­ture.

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. Those peo­ple have since been trans­ferred fur­ther south.

“Sun­cor has en­hanced fire mit­i­ga­tion and pro­tec­tion around all of its fa­cil­i­ties,” it said. “When it is safe to do so, we will con­tinue im­ple­ment­ing our restart plans.”

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 con­tinue to bat­tle hot spots on the edge of Fort McMur­ray while the first still raged out of con­trol deeper in the for­est. Hot, dry con­di­tions were not help­ing fire­fight­ers.

Of­fi­cials have warned the air qual­ity in the Fort McMur­ray area is dan­ger­ously poor.

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