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Province-wide fire ban in effect

A province-wide fire ban is now in effect. That mean all open fires, the use of charcoal briquettes, and campfires in all areas are now prohibited. All fire permits are suspended or cancelled and no new permits will be issued. However, portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and barbecues for cooking or heating are still allowed.

Hot, dry weather has pushed the wildfire hazard to very high in the Grande Prairie Wildfire Management Area. There are two dozen wildfires burning across the province that were all started by humans. The hamlet of Wabasca has been evacuated due to a fire that has burned almost 200 hectares.

Meanwhile, two major oilsands projects in the province have been shut down due to the risk being posed by a nearby wildfire. Cenovus Energy has shut down production at their Foster Creek oil-sands site, evacuating 1,700 workers from there and a nearby natural gas site. Foster Creek is on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, and its access road is being threatened by an out of control wildfire that is burning over 10,000 hectares as of this morning.

Canadian Natural Resources has also shut-down production at a facility in the area, evacuating an undisclosed amount of employees. The two sites combined produce about 215,000 barrels of oil a day.

With files from Jenny Oatway

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