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This photo from Tuesday shows an explosion near the community of Shelley, British Columbia. The massive pipeline explosion risks cutting off the flow of Canadian natural gas, and companies are urging customers to conserve.

Electricity and natural gas company Avista is advising southern Oregon customers to limit natural gas consumption after a pipeline explosion in British Columbia on Tuesday evening.

The incident is affecting the company’s ability to provide natural gas to its customers across western Washington and southern Oregon. Avista serves about 342,000 customers across the Northwest.

“It’s important to know that our system is safe and was not damaged in the incident,” said David Vowels, a spokesman for Avista.

Vowels said the company doesn’t know how long it will take for the pipeline to be repaired. Avista has been contacting affected consumers and will notify them when it lifts the advisory for the region.

Homeowners should lower their thermostats and limit the use of hot water to conserve natural gas until further notice, Vowels said.

“Those are the primary ways natural gas is consumed at home,” he said.

Avista also advised industrial customers to reduce their natural gas consumption.

“Utilities throughout the region are working collaboratively to reduce usage on the natural gas system,” according to a press release issued by the company.

The rupture occurred on a 36-inch pipeline in a rural area of British Columbia eight miles north of Port George, Washington, according to Enbridge, the pipeline operator. Natural gas being transported ignited, sending smoke thousands of feet into the air, according to local media reports. The fire was extinguished late Wednesday morning.

Nobody was injured during the incident. Approximately 100 members of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation tribe were evacuated from the area as a precaution, according to Enbridge.

The company doesn’t know what caused the pipeline to break but will release more information following an investigation.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

(3) comments

pwchoices

A pipe explosion in British Columbia and local customers are told to limit use. Now if this isn't a wake up call as to why America needs it's own sources for energy, (not foreign ones) nothing is.

Mogie

"It's important to know that our system is safe..." If they don't know what caused the problem how do they know the system is safe?

Mogie

Avista serves eastern Oregon also. Why aren't they being asked to conserve as well?

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