The Briggs wildfire has left the Cigar Lake mine in northern Sask unharmed.But keep burning
According to Cameco, which operates the facility, the Briggs fire near the Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan has continued to burn, but it has now passed the main camp and “has no serious impact on the site.”
Company spokesperson Jeff Hryhoriw told CBC News on Friday afternoon that early inspections showed no structural damage to any buildings and all assets were intact.
He said that all 80 basic mine workers who remained at the site were safe and helped wildfire personnel to put out the hot spots. Cameco staff and a provincial wildfire team from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) are still at the scene.
Hryhoriw said the fire was still active and some nearby roads were closed due to nearby smoke and flames.
“Forest fires are dynamic and the situation will definitely change rapidly, so we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” he said.
The weather conditions in the north on Friday are expected to remain hot and dry, and then ease during the weekend. Hryhoriw emphasized that the top priority is to keep the mine free of hot spots left by fire.
“This is also a question of smoke and wind patterns that will definitely change,” he said. “Wind can change direction, can change intensity [of the fire], So we know there is more work to be done. “
Hryhoriw pointed out that there is no timetable for when Cameco’s approximately 230 workers evacuated from Cigar Lake will return or resume production.
He said that the decision to restart will depend on the status of wildfire activity in the area, smoke conditions and the safety of roads and air passages to the site.
The remaining miners formed an emergency team
Hryhoriw said that the approximately 80 Cameco workers who remained in the mine had been working as emergency response teams.
He explained that their job is to maintain critical machinery and keep the facilities in a safe state-including constantly watering the site and removing surrounding bushes as a preventive measure. Hryhoriw pointed out that if the threat of wildfires continues to grow, plans will be made to ensure the safety of workers there.
“[The SPSA] The officials have assessed the various locations and facilities on the site and made recommendations to us accordingly,” he said. “They believe that according to the design and construction of the building, the site layout, and the protective measures that have been taken, workers can be guaranteed Safety. “
Hryhoriw said that water bombers and heavy equipment have also been deployed to the area and continue to help with fire fighting.
‘Pack a bag’
Dan Stillborn was one of approximately 230 miners who received a call on Thursday Leaving the Cigar Lake site.
“They just called us and said,’pack up,” Steeleburn said of the phone that woke him from his nap that morning.
When Stillborn stood up and looked out the window, he saw flames spreading on the hills a few kilometers away from the workers’ camp.
Before long, he and his colleagues were on their way to the safety of Cameco Rabbit Lake, about an hour and a half east of Cigar Lake.
“Looking south, the sky is so blue [from Rabbit Lake] -But when I look north, it is black,” Steeleburn said late Thursday afternoon when there were multiple fires in the area burning.
“It’s a sharp contrast; it looks like a cloudy sky in the north.”
The “overwhelming majority” of Sask. Under extreme wildfire risk: SPSA
According to SPSA, as of Friday afternoon, there were 16 wildfires burning in Saskatchewan, 4 of which have not been controlled.
SPSA said in an email statement to CBC News that the Briggs fire near the Cigar Lake mine was considered one of the “very active” fires, and high winds prevented wildfire personnel from extinguishing the flames.
SPSA said tankers, helicopters and crews are also fighting a second fire in northern Saskatchewan south of Dillon, where wildfires increased from 60 hectares to 350 hectares on Wednesday night.
Steve Roberts, SPSA’s vice president of operations, said at a press conference on Friday that the agency is currently working with nearby communities to help deal with the smog that is expected to worsen in the area over the weekend.
He said that industrial air purifiers have also been deployed for community ice rinks, halls and other indoor spaces to provide a safe environment for people with breathing problems.
SPSA stated that “the vast majority” of the province is at extreme risk of wildfires, and this risk is expected to increase in the coming days.
The latest statistics from the province show that there have been 202 wildfires in Saskatchewan so far this year, exceeding the five-year average of 195.
As a result, the SPSA issued a provincial fire ban on Friday, Including royal lands, provincial parks and Northern Saskatchewan. The ban includes any open flames, controlled burns, and fireworks.