The Latest: Alberta wildfire may reach Saskatchewan

AP News
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Posted: May 07, 2016 7:37 PM

LAC LA BICHE, Alberta (AP) — The latest on Canada's massive wildfire in Alberta. (All times local).

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5:30 p.m.

Officials in Alberta say a raging wildfire burning in the western Canadian province is expected to grow in the northeastern sector, creating a good possibility the fire will reach the neighboring Saskatchewan border by Saturday evening.

Chad Morrison of Alberta Wildfire says extreme fire conditions will persist for the next two days. He says although it's not as hot Saturday as it has been since the fire ignited May 1, it remains extremely dry and windy.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada' oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings.

Morrison says unless there's significant rainfall, officials expect to be fighting fires in the forested area for months to come, noting that's not uncommon with such large fires.

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12:20 p.m.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says a massive wildfire in the province could burn to the edges of the Suncor oil sands facility.

Officials say the oil mines are resilient to fires because they are cleared and have no vegetation. They say the sites have very good industrial fire departments.

The fire and mass evacuation has forced as much as a quarter of Canada's oil output offline and is expected to impact a country already hurt by a dramatic fall in the price of oil.

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12:15 p.m.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government hopes to complete the evacuation south of evacuees from work camps north of wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray.

Notley says about 12,000 evacuees have been airlifted from oil sands mine landing strips over the past two days and about 7,000 have been evacuated in police escorted highway convoys.

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12 p.m.

The Alberta government says the massive wildfire in the province now covers more than 156,000 hectares (385,476 acres) and is expected to grow.

That number includes burned areas and those areas still in flames. The fire was 101,000 hectares (249,571 acres) on Friday and officials believed it could double in size.

Canadian officials are continuing to transport residents of wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray out of the area.

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9:35 a.m.

Syncrude, a major oil sands mining company in Alberta, is shutting down operations and removing all personnel from their site because of the massive wildfire in the area.

The company said in a statement that while there is no imminent threat from fire smoke that has reached its Mildred Lake site. They intend to have all personnel out this weekend and started the evacuation early Saturday.

Syncrude says they will restore operations when there is no risk and said despite the extraordinary measures the jobs of more than 4,800 employees remain secure.

The fire has dealt a blow to the region's crude production, with companies curtailing production or stopping it altogether.

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9 a.m.

Canadian officials are continuing to transport residents of wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray out of the area.

Police and military are overseeing another procession of vehicles Saturday, and the mass airlift of evacuees was also set to resume. About 2,500 vehicles and 7,000 people had passed through Fort McMurray on Friday despite a one-hour interruption due to heavy smoke, authorities said.

More than 80,000 people have left Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada' oil sands, where the fire has torched 1,600 homes and other buildings.

Thousands of displaced residents being relocated in convoys got a view of their burned-out city on their way south.