Fort McMurray Residents to Return Home

Fort McMurray Residents to Return HomeFort McMurray Residents to Return Home

Some Fort McMurray residents returned home for the first time, on Wednesday, after a huge wildfire displaced 90,000 people in northwest Canada.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the conditions needed for the return of the residents had been met.

CBC reported that five conditions had to be met for people to return, including the restoration of critical services such as police and healthcare. Authorities will continue assessing conditions daily and the plans could change if conditions worsen, BBC reported.

Air quality is expected to continue improving in the city, thanks to cooler weather and expected rain.

Notley said 500 homes in the Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways neighborhoods had been deemed unsafe for habitation, meaning about 9,000 people will have to stay out of Fort McMurray for the immediate future.

A boil-water advisory notice remains in place and the province is warning certain at-risk groups to be careful about coming back.

“To residents choosing to return this week, I ask you to not go home without a plan,” Notley said. “Bring food, water and any other supplies needed for the next two weeks.”

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be patrolling the city as residents start their return.

“When they say to bring 14-day worth of food and water, they mean it,” said Jim Mandeville, an official with disaster cleanup group FirstOnSite.

“And when they say people with respiratory conditions shouldn’t come up here, they mean it, and they have a really good reason why. It is not a clean, safe, normal environment that you’re walking into.’’

The fire began on May 3 and destroyed more than 2,400 homes and buildings. It shut off nearly a quarter of Canada’s oil production as it approached Alberta’s oil sands.