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Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

While not primarily an engineering disaster, I am sure there will be a lot of engineering time used to devise plans to avoid a repeat.
Not just for Fort Mac' but for every city subject to wildfires.
Some news excerpts:
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - The Alberta government is providing cash to 80,000 evacuees from the Fort McMurray fire to help them with their immediate needs.
Premier Rachel Notley says payments will be $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependent at a cost to the province of $100 million.

Officials again did not update the number of structures that have burned in Fort McMurray — already at 1,600 — saying crews had not had the time to take count

The fire, which started on the weekend in an isolated forest about 15 kilometres from the city, has grown to 1,000 square kilometres.
(That's over 360 square miles.)
The RCMP and military were overseeing the convoy which began around 6 a.m. Friday. Sgt. John Spaans, an RCMP spokesman, said 50 vehicles at a time were being allowed to go through Fort McMurray on Highway 63.

Spaans said the RCMP was marshalling the movement with cars at the front and rear and police were monitoring progress overhead in military helicopters.
“That’s why we had the helicopters … just to make sure the motorists and responders are safe in case there’s a sudden change in fire direction,” he said.
“They would be able to notify everyone immediately.”
All intersections along the convoy route were blocked off to ensure no one went astray. Police said no one would be allowed to stop.


"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated


Oil prices jump as Fort McMurray wildfire slows down oilsands production
What's the impact on the oil market? And on the workers?

By Tracy Johnson, CBC News Posted: May 05, 2016 3:00 AM MT Last Updated: May 05, 2016 9:54 AM MT
A substantial number of Fort McMurray residents work at the oilsands plants. The evacuation of the city leaves both workers and industry in a bind.

A substantial number of Fort McMurray residents work at the oilsands plants. The evacuation of the city leaves both workers and industry in a bind. (CAOS 91.1 Radio/Canadian Press)

The price of crude is rising today as the wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., slows oilsands production.

The Wood Buffalo region of Alberta is the economic heart of the province, and key to world oil markets. It produces more than half of Canada's oil each day and is an important exporter to the United States.

Communities south of Fort McMurray ordered to leave as wildfire advances
LIVE BLOG Breaking updates on the Fort McMurray wildfire

While the oilsands plants themselves are not at risk at this moment, production has not just slowed down, but in some cases has stopped because the plants can't operate at full capacity without staff. The entire population of Fort McMurray has been evacuated, thousands of homes have been lost and it's unclear when the city will be habitable again.
Short-term reduction in supply

'The morale of this community is at stake.'
- Tim Pickering, Auspice Capital

Production has shut down at Shell's Albian oilsands mines, as well as at Suncor's base mines north of Fort McMurray. Production has been curtailed at other Suncor operations, as well as Syncrude, Husky and Connacher.

"But not because it's at risk," said Tim Pickering, chief investment officer at Auspice Capital. "But because of the people issue. Of course, they're being sensitive to their employees and family issues."

The market is now estimating that between 600,000 and 800,000 barrels are off-line. World oil production is around 96 million barrels a day, and is oversupplied by approximately one million barrels a day, with lots of oil in tanks, so even if oilsands production slows in the short term, it should not have an effect on the world price in the long term.
Key staff evacuated from area

But in the medium term, the question becomes how to operate the oilsands without its key staff. Last year, Fort McMurray's population stood at 78,000, with a shadow population of 43,000. Most of the shadow population lives in work camps around the oilsands operations. Many of those workers have been sent home to other parts of the country because the camps are now housing residents evacuated from Fort McMurray.

"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Direct link to one of the most frightening videos.

Dashcam video of escape from Fort McMurray.

At about the 50s mark, one starts thinking about the radiant heat from the wall of flames.

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Yeah, we drove by a brush fire near Temecula, on the way back from San Diego, many years ago, and the radiant heat is amazingly intense.

Then again, the gas jet flames during the Disneyland fireworks generate quite a bit of radiant heat as well, even from over one hundred feet away.

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

I know what you mean.

The picture below is of a gas well fire near Frederic, MI (about 200 miles North of Detroit) taken in July 1976. The well burned for about a month before they were finally able to put it out and cap the well. To give you an idea of how large this flame was, the exposed portion of the well pipe in the photo was probably about 6 or 7 feet. They had spent most the month using a drag-line rig to first remove any combustible material and then the soil from around the well pipe until they had exposed about 10 feet of pipe. The last 3 feet was removed by 'sawing' it off using a steel cable wrapped around the pipe, pulled back-and-forth until it had cut off that section of the pipe where it had ruptured and blown-out.

My parents lived about 30 miles away and we were visiting and when we heard that they were about to cap the well we decided to drive over and see it. We were there late at night, probably pretty close to midnight the night before they finally capped it. Now while there was one guy on duty 'guarding' the site there really wasn't any fences or barriers or even signs warning people to not get too close, as the heat was so intense that that was NOT going to be a problem.

Here's a photo of the valve that was going to used to shut-off the gas flow once they managed to get it installed on the well pipe the next day. Note that the lighting of this shot was provided totally by the light from the flame, that is, NO flash was used (remember this was taken near midnight).

BTW, the next morning they extinguished the fire using a crane with a long boom that swung a package of dynamite into the main part of the flame so that when they set it off it basically SNUFFED the fire out by robbing it of oxygen long enough that it stopped burning. Of course the trick then was to install that shutoff-valve without reigniting the fire. It must have worked because the news reports said everything went as planned and we never heard much about it after that.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Nice pics John. I'd have liked to have seen that. Reminds me of the John Wayne movie about Fred Adair the well fire expert. Saw that movie about 4 times.

I'm constantly amazed by the feeling they have about 20 firemen working the Fort Mac fire. I've seen several movies where probably five guys could've prevented whole neighborhoods of homes from burning down. All they would've needed would've been a few back-pump cans, some shovels and a chainsaw. Amazingly poor coverage - spectacularly bad coverage!

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Fort MacMurray wildfire by the numbers.

Growth of Fort McMurray wildfire
May 6-8

Friday, May 6......1,000 square kilometres
Saturday, May 7....1,560 square kilometres
Sunday, May 8......1,610 square kilometres (That's 620 square miles.)

Resources deployed

Equipment includes heavy helicopters with 3,700-litre capacities, capable of dumping 75,700 litres of water in an hour.
15 helicopters
4 heavy lift helicopters
88 fire engines
44 pieces of heavy equipment
27 air tankers available
Four air tankers from Quebec, and one from the Northwest Territories

Wildfire fighters usually deploy for 14 days at a time. Deployments to Fort McMurray have been shortened due to extreme fire conditions, according to Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee.

500 firefighters in Fort McMurray
66 firefighters in Anzac
82 wildfire fighters from Ontario
22 wildfire experts from Manitoba
40 additional wildfire fighters expected from Quebec on May 10, and 20 more expected from New Brunswick on May 11
I suspect that the poor coverage may be due to most of the media being evacuated, and the officials too busy with priorities.
There are reports that oil prices are up due to the tar sands supply being off the market. Most of the oil upgrader plants are not in danger from flames however the thick smoke and the possibility of thick smoke makes them hazardous areas. (Notwithstanding, there may be some plants that do not have the wide cleared areas surrounding them as do Suncor and Syncrude.
The Long Lake plant just south of Anzac may be in jeopardy.)
We are about 400 miles south and in no danger.

"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Ah, well, there you go. The Rough Fire in California that was the largest fire during the 2015 season at 236sq miles had 3,740 fire fighters on it.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

The worst will come after the fire is put out. Floods, mud slides, etc. It will take years before things are back to where it was.

Maybe a series of smaller fires is a good idea, or allow logging to remove some of the trees.

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

The fire has moved away from Fort MacMurray and is burning in wilderness forest. It was reported as covering 969 square miles this morning, out of control and growing. At 1:00 PM it was reported as 1096 square miles, it's probably over 1100 square miles by now.
Fort MacMurray is still evacuated. Fire fighters are working on hot spots near the city.
The issue now is air quality.
Our elected leader announced today that the air quality is 38 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Yes Thirty-eight on a scale of one to ten. This has been repeated all day on news broadcasts.
Ten types of persons, Make that eleven types, those who understand binary, those who don't and over in left field, the politicians.
Just goes to prove, you don't have to be a brain to be the boss........

"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

Last Updated: May 16, 2016 10:49 PM MT
About 8,000 oilsands workers in camps north of Fort McMurray have been forced to evacuate once again.
A wildfire that destroyed whole sections of Fort McMurray earlier this month has forced workers to leave all camps up to Fort MacKay, around 54 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
The evacuation order was initially ordered for all camps up to Ruth Lake, around 26 kms north of the city. That evacuation order was expanded at 10 p.m. on Monday.
Hazardous smoke and hot spots slow re-entry plans for Fort McMurray

Wiki lists the total area of Rhode Island as 1,544.89 square miles with a land area of 1,033.81 square miles. At about 1200 square miles and growing, the Ft. Mac fire may soon be larger than Rhode Island.
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

The fire is still growing. I has destroyed one of the camps originally used to house evacuees.
As of yesterday afternoon the size was listed as 1633 square miles or 423,000 hectares.
Compare to Rhode Island with a total area of 1544 Square miles.
The perimeter will be over 160 miles. Most of the fire has no access. Two things may stop it.
Rain wetting the forest ahead of it to stop the spread.
A change in the prevailing wind that blows the fire back into itself.

"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Fort McMurray 80,000 evacuated

There's a lot of rain in the forecast coming up for Alberta. Hopefully that gives the firefighters what they need to put out the worst of it.

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