Manitoba

Wasagamack First Nation evacuation ends as people prepare to return

Community members from a Manitoba First Nation who were forced from their homes by a wildfire will start to return to their community on Saturday.

Evacuees who fled wildfire have been away from home for more than two weeks

A forest fire forced about 3,700 people from the community of Wasagamack First Nation, about 470 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. (Judy Klassen/Facebook)

Community members from a Manitoba First Nation who were forced from their homes by a wildfire will start to return to their community on Saturday.

The leaders of Wasagamack First Nation have decided it's time for evacuees to return home from Brandon and Winnipeg, where they've been staying, a Friday news release from the Red Cross said.

More than 1,300 evacuees have been away from their homes for more than two weeks.

A team of 60 people went to Wasagamack on Monday to prepare for the return, the news release said. 

People from three Manitoba First Nations were forced from their communities on Aug. 29.

The entire community of Wasagamack had to be evacuated, with more than 2,000 people fleeing the flames at night in small boats, travelling across Island Lake to St. Theresa Point First Nation.

St. Theresa Point and nearby Garden Hill were also evacuated because of the fire. St. Theresa Point residents went home earlier this week, and more than 2,700 evacuees from Garden Hill also have started to return home.

The Red Cross said it expects the return effort to finish Tuesday.

Wasagamack is about 470 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

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