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Alberta Wildfire Risk Seen Biggest for Storage Tanks, Equipment

  • Blaze reaches gates of Cnooc's Long Lake, official says
  • Oil sands unlikely to burn but equipment, chemicals at risk

As a wildfire rages across Alberta’s oil-sands region, pipelines, tanks full of chemicals, buildings and equipment are more at risk than the thick, tar-like deposits that are mined from the ground.

The fire neared the gate of Cnooc Ltd.’s Long Lake oil sands plant in northern Alberta Friday. While officials were hopeful that winds would push the flames away to the northeast, many oil companies also have fire crews preparing to defend their complexes, Chad Morrison, the province’s wildfire compliance and investigations manager, said during a conference call. "They’re highly trained and have great emergency response plans in place for that."