Evacuation order lifted for Wabush fire evacuees
Fires still burning, but residents can return
The town of Wabush has lifted its evaucation order, allowing more than 1,600 residents to return home after fleeing nearby forest fires.
The town remains under a state of emergency and an evacuation alert remains in effect, meaning residents may be warned to leave again at a moment's notice.
The town declared a state of emergency Friday due to air quality concerns from fires raging just a few kilometres away. Residents were moved to neighbouring Labrador City.
Recent rainfall allowed firefighters ground access to a section of the Trans-Labrador Highway east of the community, allowing ground crews to join water bombers and helicopters in battling the fires.
Three helicopters were assisting the approximately 30 firefighters in action along the highway on Sunday.
Wabush Mayor Ron Barron says there are still thousands of hot spots within the fire perimeter. Barron said the with warm weather expected for the next few days will only help fuel the fire.
Labrador MP Yvonne Jones arrived in Wabush early Sunday and will be meeting with officials to discuss the situation. She said her major concern is to get more water bombers in the air to help combat the fire.
Landlines are operational again in both Wabush and Labrador City, and 911 emergency services are up and running.
BellAliant crews were able to get on site to repair roughly 1.6 km of damaged cable in the fire zone to restore services to the area.
A boil water advisory that was issued for Wabush on Saturday morning has been modified to avoid consumption. The town advised that residents boil tap water before consuming, but have changed the advisory to bottled water only.
While there was some rain overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning, the minister of natural resources said the fire has grown, but not as much as in the past two or three days.
The Trans-Labrador Highway remains closed, but travellers have parked along the side of the road hoping the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on site will escort drivers through the area.
There are no fires of concern on the Baie Comeau Highway leading from Quebec into Labrador.
With files from the Canadian Press