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

The Calgary-based pipeline operator confirmed the rupture in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

"We are working closely with first responders in the region, including RCMP, Yellowhead County and Alberta Wildfire," the company said.

"An initial ignition of natural gas at the rupture site is now extinguished. We are working to support Alberta Wildfire in their response to contain a secondary fire."

TC Energy Corp. had said in a statement released earlier in the day that 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.

The company said the affected section of the pipeline had been isolated and shut down, and there were no reports of injuries.

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

Charbonneau said the fire had not threatened any communities, and that Alberta Wildfire had 12 wildland firefighters and eight pieces of heavy equipment at the site. Air tankers and a helicopter were also available to assist.

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

TC Energy pipeline rupture sparks wildfire near #Edson, Alta. #TCEnergy #Wildfire #NGTL #Alberta

"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.

While some of TC Energy's customers were temporarily impacted while the affected pipeline segment was being isolated, the company said late Tuesday afternoon that the remainder of its system was operating normally.

"There are no commercial impacts at this time. We continue to communicate directly with our customers," the company said.

"We are working closely with regulators and authorities and will cooperate in an investigation of this incident."

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

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

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent an investigator to the scene.

TC Energy said it would 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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