FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – The Alberta government is taking a second look at its plan to allow people to return home to Fort McMurray after explosions damaged some homes in the city and a raging wildfire spread north toward oilsands plants.
The overnight fire destroyed a 665-room work camp north of the city. Photo: @TheEconomist.
The fire overnight destroyed a 665-room work camp north of the city and two other camps are threatened by the flames.
Two explosions within Fort McMurray damaged 10 homes and poor air quality forced staff working to clean the hospital and natural gas utility workers to leave, she said.
“The government of Alberta has been discussing a re-entry plan with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday. “Obviously, yesterday’s events have caused us to take a second look at those plans. Safety will be and must be our first and principle priority.
“I hope to have more to say about our specific re-entry plans within the week.”
Notley added the explosions are examples of things that can happen when a city the size of Fort McMurray is being brought back online.
“When you start turning on a switch … in a city of 90,000 people, sometimes stuff happens,” she said. “What those two incidents last night demonstrated to us is that’s the right way to go, that we need to make sure we’ve got everything cued up before people come back in because we want to make sure it’s safe.”
In recent days, oilsands workers were moved back up north to begin ramping up oilsands production again. But late Monday about 8,000 people working at camps north of Fort McMurray were ordered out in a mandatory evacuation due to the fast-moving fire.