The province announced Tuesday the general evacuation order for the northeastern Saskatchewan community has been lifted after a nearby wildfire forced the community to flee on June 19.
Approximately 893 residents were evacuated from the area; 579 went to Prince Albert, 68 were evacuated to Saskatoon, 28 stayed in La Ronge and around 300 people camped out at Reindeer Lake.
Buses began bringing people home Tuesday morning, but some residents with health concerns will remain evacuated until air quality improves.
Fire officials said the Woods fire continues to burn at 9,300 hectares, but hasn’t grown over the last several days. It’s believed there is no longer a threat to the community of Southend or any road access.
“We’ve had a quite a few days to work on it, and we feel we’ve done really good work on the north and west side and now moving down to the east flank,” Scott Wasylenchuk, the province’s director of wildfire operations, said during a conference call on Tuesday.
While weather conditions and rain have helped the fire situation, it’s also been a hindrance in some areas of the province.
Lightning has caused 13 new fire starts province-wide over the last 24 hours. Officials said there have been 63 new fires over the last five days; 53 of those are actively burning – 10 are considered not contained.
There have been 311 wildfires to date, while the average is 232.