The U.S. Coast Guard prepared to set fire Wednesday to portions of a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to keep the pool of crude away from sensitive ecological areas in the Mississippi River Delta.
Efforts to cap the well that was opened up last week when the Deepwater Horizon drill rig blew up and sank off Louisiana have been unsuccessful.
Eleven workers are still missing after the explosion; another 115 people were rescued.
Northwesterly winds drove the 80-mile-long slick back from Louisiana’s coast slightly Wednesday, and the Coast Guard planned to ignite a portion of the spilled oil sometime after 11 a.m. CT (noon ET).
“It’s a historically proven technique, and it has multiple preventative safety measures in place to ensure that that burn area remains controlled,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Moorlag, a Coast Guard spokesman.