Final wildfire evacuees to return home

A northern wildfire engulfs the Hwy. 106 near Flin Flon with fire and smoke. Submitted photo.

The last of the Pelican Narrows residents taking refuge from the wildfires in the north are now able to return home.

On Wednesday afternoon, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation chief Peter Beatty lifted the evacuation order for residents with priority one or priority two health conditions, as well as families with infants.

The decision was made following recommendations from the province and its ministries.

In Prince Albert, evacuees with their own transportation are required to check in with the Red Cross at the Waskesiu Room at the Prince Albert Inn for gas vouchers. In Saskatoon, they are to check in at the Travelodge.

Emergency Social Services, Red Cross and government relations are assisting about 700 people return home today via buses. The government will continue working with Pelican Narrows to ensure repatriations are safe, and that there are supplies necessary for any communities still experiencing smoke in the region.

According to the termination of local emergency order signed Wednesday, “consultation with wildfire management indicates sustained high smoke levels are possible … for an undetermined duration. Air quality issues will be mitigated at the community level by utilizing the community fresh air shelter. Added provisions for sleeping and potentially feeding at the shelter have been negotiated.”

There will also be an additional ambulance in the community, along with a crew.