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TC Energy pipeline rupture sparks wildfire near Edson, Alta.

Pipeline blast starts wildfire

A natural gas pipeline owned by TC Energy Corp. ruptured near Edson, Alta. on Tuesday afternoon, sparking a wildfire.

The Calgary-based pipeline operator said in a statement it was alerted at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday of an "incident" on its NGTL pipeline system in Yellowhead County, about 40 kilometres northwest of Edson and 55 kilometres northeast of Hinton.

TC Energy Corp. said the affected section of the pipeline has been isolated and shut down, and said there are no reports of injuries.

But Charlotte Charbonneau, area information coordinator with Alberta Forestry and Parks, confirmed the pipeline incident sparked a wildfire in the area that — as of mid-afternoon — was 10 hectares in size.

TC Energy declined to comment further, and said additional information would be provided as it became available.

Charbonneau said the fire currently does not threaten any communities, and said Alberta Wildfire has 12 wildland firefighters and eight pieces of heavy equipment at the site. Air tankers and a helicopter are also available to assist.

"The fire is still classified as out of control, but firefighters are making really good progress," she said.

"They will continue working until probably darkness, trying to contain the fire, and then will resume work in the morning."

Charbonneau added that the current dry grass conditions in the Edson area mean wildfires can catch and burn quickly. She said any spark, hot exhaust or friction near dry vegetation can cause a wildfire.

TC Energy's NGTL pipeline system transports natural gas from Alberta and northeast B.C. to domestic and export markets. The system spans 24,631 kilometres and connects with TC Energy’s Canadian Mainline system, Foothills system and other third-party pipelines.

In an online bulletin to its customers Tuesday afternoon, TC Energy said some of its customers were temporarily impacted while the affected pipeline segment was being isolated, but commercial service has since been restored.

In a statement posted to its website, Yellowhead County said there is no more gas leaking from the pipeline and there is no threat to the public.

The county said it has been determined "there was pipeline involvement," but the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

TC Energy has said it will provide additional information on Tuesday's rupture as it becomes available.

The company's stock price sank two per cent on Tuesday, to $48.60 per share.



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