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UPDATE: Oilsands evacuation order extended

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UPDATE: The evacuation order has been extended to all camps and facilities north of Fort McMurray to just south of Fort MacKay. The order does not include Fort MacKay, Athabasca Camp, and the Beaver River Camp.

There has been a significant change in the Fort McMurray wildfire. 500 to 600 workers at four small oil and gas camps along the Aostra Road north of the city have been evacuated.

Premier Rachel Notley says another 4,000 at the Syncrude and Suncor facilities are under a precautionary evacuation, with non-essential personnel being moved out.

“North of these facilities, there is no immediate threat or any precautionary threat in place. Both Syncrude and Suncor have emergency plans in place which they are operationalizing, and firefighters in place as well.”

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Notley adds they’re confident that if additional trigger lines are crossed people could be evacuated safely.

As expected, Monday was a difficult firefighting day with extreme wildfire conditions. Chad Morrison with Alberta Wildfire says it’s now five kilometres away from Timberlea but there’s a fire break in between.

“The fire is moving parallel to the community at this time to the north. The original fire does provide a very good fire guard for firefighters to work from. We have many of our firefighters deployed in the community itself, so the folks are working carefully there just as a precautionary measure.”

Firefighters are dealing with extreme fire conditions, with the blaze moving 30 to 40 metres a minute at some points Monday.

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