Fire near Suncor Firebag grows to over 12,000 hectares

The group of wildfires burning near the Firebag River, just kilometers from a Suncor oilsands site, is being renamed the “Cattail Complex” by Alberta Wildfire. Of the six fires comprising the Cattail Complex, five are under control, showing no recent hot spots. All six fires were caused by lightning.

Fire MWF-047 within the complex continues to challenge fire suppression efforts. It has grown to 12,201 hectares over the weekend. It remains just eight kilometers from Suncor Firebag and roughly 16 kilometers from Imperial Oil’s Kearl facility.

Alberta Wildfire expects hot, windy weather today with gusty winds.

Currently, there are 201 personnel working in this complex. This includes 95 firefighters, along with pilots, engineers, heavy equipment operators, and support staff. There are 20 helicopters working the complex, with most engaged in water bucketing operations. An additional 36 heavy equipment groups are working the complex on both day and night rotations.

Crews continue to work on the south and west corners of this wildfire today. As part of the daily operations, Alberta Wildfire will also continue to work on dozer guards and aerial fire suppression.

Overnight firefighting is set to continue. Alberta Wildfire says the nighttime work has been successful in helping limit the spread of the blaze.

The fire danger in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region is considered, “Very High”. There remains a fire restriction in place for the entire Fort McMurray Forest Area. Under the restriction, existing fire permits are restricted, suspended, or cancelled and no new fire permits will be issued. Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds are allowed, however outdoor wood fires on public lands, including any using charcoal briquettes, are prohibited.

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