Edmonton

Fire halts work at Kearl oilsands site

Construction work at Imperial Oil's Kearl oilsands site in northern Alberta was suspended Monday because of a fire burning nearby.

Construction work at Imperial Oil's Kearl oilsands site in northern Alberta was suspended Monday because of a fire burning nearby.

The fire, which is classified as out-of-control, is about eight kilometres from the site. About 3,000 workers are staying at the Wapasu camp another 20 kilometres away.

Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser says the air quality at the camp is within acceptable limits and the company has an evacuation plan if conditions become worse.

"We appreciate the concerns that people have when they can see smoke and smell smoke," Rolheiser said.

"But again, all of the monitoring that we've done on days when workers are on site working indicates that its safe for them to be doing that and if it wasn't safe, we simply wouldn't put them in that position."

A number of workers have sought treatment at the Kearl medical clinic, Rolheiser said.

The fire has burned about 284,000 hectares in an area about 65 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. There is another fire burning out of control north of Fort MacKay.

 

 

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