New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – May 5, 2016)

ANZAC, ALBERTA – A massive wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, that has grown to five times its initial size has spread south, forcing more evacuations on Thursday after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation’s energy heartland.

The uncontrolled fire, which has consumed swathes of the city, has shut oil production in the area, driving up global oil prices and affecting projects and pipelines across the heavily forested region. Map of the Fort McMurray fire – (

Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities, located about 50 km (31 miles) south of the battered city of Fort McMurray, which was evacuated Tuesday.

At least 640,000 barrels per day of crude output is offline, according to Reuters calculations, roughly 16 percent of Canada’s crude production. The outage is expected to climb as major players in the region cut production. [O/R]

Conoco Phillips said it was evacuating its small 30,000-barrel-per-day Surmont project, south of Fort McMurray.The winds also pushed flames toward the local airport, with web cam images showing black smoke engulfing the airport late on Wednesday evening. Officials confirmed that a hotel north of main terminal had caught fire.

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