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The Canadian wildfires that started in the Alberta oil sands patch, with ground zero at Fort McMurray, have now spread over the provincial border into Saskatchewan, covering a total of 5,000 square kilometers.
The raging wildfire has now consumed 1.2 million acres of land.
Firefighters have reportedly managed to keep the fires in Alberta from spreading too close to oil sands facilities, and the spread into Saskatchewan is for now contained to forest rather than communities.
Related: Wildfire Nears Canada’s Major Oil Sands Plants
It is hoped that the cooler temperatures and potential rain will halt the momentum of the spread, but as of late Thursday, the fire had spread 8 square kilometers into Saskatchewan.
In the meantime, Canadian officials said that Fort McMurray, where the fire started, was still burning out of control in the north, though oil sands facilities have not been engulfed.
“It was anticipated to be in Saskatchewan just over a week ago and it stalled out. It is now moving again, but weather forecasts are indicating that should slow,” a Canadian official was quoted as saying.
For now, Canada is losing some 1 million barrels of oil per day due to operational shut downs caused by the wildfire.
Related: Oil Prices Under Pressure As Global Supply Outages Diminish
Major oil sands producers Suncor Energy and Syncrude have been under threat, though firefighters have managed to keep the blaze away from the facilities for now, and there are indications that it is abating in this area.
Nonetheless, according to Reuters, Syncrude won’t be making any crude shipments for this month following a force majeure declaration made earlier this month.
Reuters quoted Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson as saying: "We are not making any oil and will not have forecasts for some time."
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com