×

Eastern Canada wildfire forces more hydro plant workers to evacuate

By Thomson Reuters Jun 25, 2024 | 3:36 PM

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A wildfire in an eastern Canadian province moved closer to a huge power plant on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of workers from a nearby town, officials said.

“So (this is) very concerning,” Newfoundland and Labrador premier Anthony Furey told reporters, citing “an incredible amount of fuel” in front of the fire that could spread rapidly.

Operations at the Churchill Falls hydroelectric plant, the second largest underground facility in North America, can still continue thanks to precautionary planning, said Jennifer Williams, head of the plant operator.

If need be the plant can be operated remotely, she said. The operator later said the last few workers in Churchill Falls, which services the facility, had been evacuated.

The wildfire had largely been held since several hundred people were evacuated last week, but unfavorable weather conditions stoked the blaze on Tuesday, Furey said.

The forest fire, one of 10 active blazes in the province, was about 7 km (4.4 miles) from the town as of Tuesday afternoon, Furey said.

The hydro plant, with a generating capacity of 5,428 megawatts, supplies power to Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Quebec.

Churchill Falls is in Labrador, a remote and sparsely territory that has an area of around 300,000 sq km (116,000 sq miles) in Atlantic Canada. The province also includes the island of Newfoundland.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil, editing by David Ljunggren and Aurora Ellis)