Cleanup and rebuilding efforts are underway in Slave Lake, Alta., after a wildfire destroyed much of the community.

Slave Lake residents returned to their homes Friday for the first time since a fire ripped through the community of 7,000 two weeks ago, scorching one third of the town.

Jay Pellerin was one of the first to line up for re-entry to the town, eager to start putting his life back together.

"It's going to be a hard time for a lot of people but I think together we'll get through it," he said.

"That's about it. We just want to start … the recovery process and get things moving."

Angela Warren said she's glad her home is still standing, but feels for the hundreds of families whose homes were burned to the ground.

"Like I feel really fortunate and very, very sad for the people who lost everything," she said. "So it's not a happy thing for them."


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Residents are being asked to place signs in their windows to indicate to utility crews which services are needed. Residents have also been given an information package with advice on how to clean their properties after the fire.

Speaking from Slave Lake on Saturday, CBC's Michael Dick said things were slowly starting to return to normal, as residents were seen riding bikes and jogging on the street.

He said power and gas crews were working their way through the town restoring power to those in need.

Dick said employees were seen restocking shelves in local department stores, and many residents were seen stocking up on cleaning supplies.

The mood in the community was sombre, he said, and the smell of smoke still thick in the air. Dick said the clean-up and rebuilding efforts will likely take several months to complete.