Canada

Thousands of Alberta residents forced out by wildfire to be allowed home Wednesday

Thousands of Alberta residents forced out by wildfire to be allowed home Wednesday

As long as conditions don’t worsen, residents of Bigstone Cree Nation and Wabasca-Demarais will be allowed to return home on Wednesday, June 12.

Parts of the Municipal District of Opportunity were placed under mandatory evacuation orders at the end of May due to out-of-control wildfires.

Chipewyan Lake Village was ordered to evacuate overnight on May 30. The hamlet of Wabasca and the Bigstone Cree Nation were ordered to evacuate at 8:44 p.m. on May 29.

According to the municipality, the area is home to 3,300 people.

As of June 11, the mandatory evacuation order remained for Wabasca, Bigstone Cree Nation, Sandy Lake and Chipewyan Lake Village.

According to the province, about 3,500 people from Bigstone Cree Nation and Wabasca-Demarais will be able to return home on Wednesday, June 12.

Wabasca-Demarais is located approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Lesser Slave Lake, where wildfires continues to burn.

As of June 10, there were fires burning five and three kilometres west of Wabasca, 26.5 kilometres northeast of Marten Beach, 33 kilometres northeast of Slave Lake, and 9.3 kilometres southeast of Trout Lake.

Watch below (June 1): All eyes were on the weather as wildfires continued to burn in northern Alberta on Saturday. Lightning was possible in the Slave Lake region. Kent Morrison has the latest on the wildfire situation in that region.

The McMillan Complex fire, which is burning out-of-control between Wabasca and Slave Lake, had burned 262,622 hectares as of June 10. As of Monday, it was declared 30 per cent contained.

“Last night 3-8 millimetres of rain was recorded to have fallen on the southwest and west side of the fire,” Alberta Sustainable Resource Development said in a Monday update.

“Extensive firefighting has and is being conducted on the east side of the fire, west of Bigstone Cree Nation and Wabasca.

“Firefighters continue to lay hose lines along the fire guard built by heavy equipment. Heavy equipment continues to build fireguard on the south and northwest sides of the fire and create landing pads for helicopters on northeast and northwest sides of the fire,” SRD added.

“Structure protection remains in place in Trout Lake, Wabasca, Bigstone Cree Nation and Marten Beach.”

Several other regions remained under mandatory evacuation order, including the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement, Wabasca No. 166, Hamlet of Sandy Lake and Chipewyan Lake Village.

This means about 1,000 Albertans will still be out of their homes after being forced out by wildfire risk at the end of May.

Watch below (May 31): A wildfire has already destroyed 15 homes on the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and threatens dozens more. Fletcher Kent has the latest.

Evacuees can check evacuation payment eligibility here.

The province has provided re-entry tips here.

Thousands of High Level residents were allowed to return home on June 2. They were forced out of their homes by the out-of-control Chuckegg Creek fire for about two weeks.

Watch below (June 4): High Level residents who have returned to the town following an evacuation order prompted by a wildfire are doing their best to getting back to their regular routines. Tom Vernon reports.

As of June 11, there were 19 wildfires burning in Alberta; seven of which were listed as out of control.

So far this year, wildfires have burned a total of 678,058 hectares.