Wildfire shuts down two oil sands sites

A fast-moving wildfire in northeastern Alberta has forced the evacuation of staff at two oil sands facilities representing over 9 percent of Alberta's oil production.

CBC News reported that Cenovus Energy (NYSE, TSX:CVE) airlifted 1,700 workers from Foster Creek – its largest steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) production site – and a nearby natural gas property, on Saturday. Located on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, the facility is a 50-50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and produces 135,000 barrels a day.

The other site to be shut down is the 80,000 barrels-a-day Primrose operation run by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ).

According to the Alberta government, the blaze grew 50 percent in 24 hours on Sunday, to 6,000 hectares. Firefighters have been brought in from Ontario to join the 170 firefighters using air tankers, helicopters and earthmoving equipment trying to contain the massive wildfire, according to CBC News.