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Fort Smith says residents can come home from 8am on Monday

Pine Crescent and Primrose Lane, left, and the highway at the top of the picture. Photo: Town of Fort Smith
Fort Smith's Pine Crescent and Primrose Lane, left, are shown in a Town of Fort Smith image showing fire defences constructed in the community.


The Town of Fort Smith says residents can return home from 8am on Monday, ending an evacuation that has lasted for more than a month.

Fort Smith residents were ordered to leave the town because of an oncoming wildfire on August 12. Many who sought shelter in nearby Hay River were then the subject of a separate evacuation order for that town the following day.

Most evacuees have been in Alberta since. Hay River residents were allowed home on Saturday.

More: What healthcare is available for returning Fort Smith evacuees?
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“The evacuation order for the Town of Fort Smith will be lifted at 8am Monday, September 18,” the town’s website confirmed in a Saturday update.

The checkpoint at the Highway 2 and Highway 5 intersection will lift at 6am on Monday, the town added, stating: “Only identified essential services will be able to enter Fort Smith until the barricade is removed.”

Fort Smith will move to an evacuation alert, meaning residents should be ready to leave again at short notice, and a fire ban remains in place.

“Keep an evacuation kit packed and ready at all times,” the town wrote.



Fort Smith’s protective services division, sharing a set of guides on Facebook for returning residents, stated: “Please remember that there will be new hazards to consider when you return to an area experiencing ongoing wildfire impacts.”

All municipal services will be back to full capacity as of Monday, the town stated, with landfill fees waived until September 30 and free curbside pick-up for yard and household waste.

The town’s recreation centre will serve as a welcome centre with information from the town and other government agencies.

Flights home to Fort Smith for those who didn’t drive to safety are being coordinated for Monday.

There are still more than 200 people fighting the Wood Buffalo complex of fires that has menaced Fort Smith and nearby communities for weeks.

On Saturday, Parks Canada said drier, warmer weather had brought a return to “more vigorous activity” from nearby fires.

“Work is continuing to extinguish hot spots along the fire perimeter and reinforce control lines. Firefighters are making good progress, but more time is needed before the communities west of Fort Smith will be ready for residents to return,” Parks Canada wrote.