Fort Nelson evacuation order to be lifted Monday, alert will remain

Click to play video: 'Fort Nelson fire evacuees finally on their way home'
Fort Nelson fire evacuees finally on their way home
Residents of Fort Nelson and the surrounding communities are finally on their way home, after a wildfire forced them out more than two-weeks ago. As Andrea Macpherson reports, people are being asked to be patient as the town gets back to normal – May 27, 2024

Fort Nelson residents will be allowed to return to the community starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 27.

The announcement was made by the Fort Nelson Northern Rockies Regional Municipality late Sunday afternoon.

“All evacuees can expect a notification through Voyent Alert and Evacuee Registration and Assistance tool notifications to indicate when the rescind officially comes into effect,” a press release said.

While there are still active fires in the area, the BC Wildfire Service has given the green light to officially begin to reopen the community.

The order lifted includes Fort Nelson, Fort Nelson First Nation, Highway 77 North, Highway 97 South including 292 Subdivision.

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An evacuation alert will remain in effect for the area.

One of the last hurdles was getting the emergency department at Fort Nelson General Hospital ready for service.

The hospital’s emergency department will be operational starting Monday.

Click to play video: '4 homes destroyed in Fort Nelson wildfire, no green light yet for residents to return'
4 homes destroyed in Fort Nelson wildfire, no green light yet for residents to return

The properties and homes that were damaged in the Parker Lake wildfire will be under a “Prohibit Entry Order.” For the residents affected in those damaged properties, a permit will be needed to enter, which are issued by the regional district.

The regional district is offering free cleaning kits to residents. To get one, residents can pick them up on Monday or Tuesday between 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Recreation Centre Community Hall.

More support resources will also be available at the centre.

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The regional district said there will be a water restriction for returning residents.

“There shall be no lawn, garden, trees or shrub watering outside of the hours of 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on prescribed watering days including washing driveways, sidewalks, parking lots or exterior building surfaces,” the release said.

While the water is safe to drink in the community, it may appear cloudy. Officials said to run household taps until water becomes clear.

Utilities are restored and safe to use, but if residents have issues with power or gas, they are being advised to contact BC Hydro or FORTIS directly.

Residents who experienced an extended outage will be contacted directly by the appropriate service provider for any further details or instructions.

More information for returning residents can be found online.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the Parker Lake wildfire is still classified as burning out-of-control.

It is an estimated 12,348 hectares and is suspected to be human-caused.

Structure protection has been completely demobilized for the fire.

Crews are focused on mopping up the north and east flanks of the fire to prevent further growth towards Fort Nelson and Highway 97. Wildfire officials are pushing for extinguishment to 100 feet from the fire’s edge.

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Click to play video: 'Cooler temps, rain helping fend off wildfires in Western Canada'
Cooler temps, rain helping fend off wildfires in Western Canada

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