Fort McMurray area is under mandatory evacuation as firefighters work to prevent two forest fires from hitting the pipelines.
Shell Albian Sands and Syncrude were telling affected employees to contact their supervisors.
Reportedly, things are getting worse, not better, although thus far no homes or infrastructure have been burned.
UPDATE: The entire town has been evacuated; the largest such event in Alberta's history. 1600 buildings destroyed by fire.
The wildfire grew suddenly on Tuesday because of what Alberta Forestry spokesperson Bernie Schmitte described as “very explosive conditions.”
“Basically the fire behaviour was beyond all control efforts,” he said. “The worst of the fire is not over.”
The Shell oilsands project has been shut down. Military support has been requested.
One hotel was seen engulfed in flames. Residents reported hearing explosions coming from gas stations as they tried to leave.