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Fire classed as held as some Manitoba evacuees return home

The red glow of a wildfire that forced thousands to evacuate in Manitoba. Island Lake First Nations / Credit

The Province of Manitoba announced Sunday evening that the Island Lake-area fire is officially being classed as held as evacuated residents from St. Theresa Point start to return home.

The fire still burns at 28,000 hectares, but a release from the province said that weather and firefighting efforts have limited the growth of the fire and that it no longer poses a direct threat to the community.

1,068 evacuees registered with the Canadian Red Cross will all be heading back to St. Theresa Point in the coming days, with the first groups leaving Winnipeg and Brandon on Sunday.

READ MORE: 1,500 more evacuated as Manitoban wildfire rages on

Shawn Feely, who is the Canadian Red Cross vice-president for Manitoba and Nunavut, said Sunday he is happy with the news.

“It is great that the people of St. Theresa Point are able to head home and get back to their lives,” Feely said. “For those evacuees still outside of their homes, the Red Cross team continues to work with the communities leaders to provide necessary support.”

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Thousands of evacuees still remain in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Thomson after three Manitoba First Nations were evacuated from their communities due to nearby wildfires.

READ MORE: Wildfires force 3 Manitoba communities to evacuate

In late August, Feely said that the Red Cross is prepared to support the residents in temporary shelters for “a few more weeks”.

A full evacuation of Wasagamack First Nation started on August 29th.

Individuals with health concerns and the elderly were given the primary spots on planes out of St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill First Nations.

READ MORE: Poplar River First Nation wildfire under control: Manitoba

The latest group of evacuees returning home join those from Poplar River First Nation who were taken back to their community seven days ago.

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