All Pelican Narrows fire evacuees should now be home, says province

The province provided its final briefing on the wildfire situation in Northern Saskatchewan Thursday.

Reclamation work has also begun on land around the wildfires

An evacuation order for the community of Pelican Narrows in Saskatchewan has been lifted. (Ashley Queens/Facebook)

All of the residents displaced by wildfires in Pelican Narrows should be back home as of Thursday, according to the provincial coordinator for emergency social services in Saskatchewan.

Deanna Valentine said the evacuation order has been lifted for Pelican Narrows, which was announced last week.  As of Thursday afternoon, three evacuees in Saskatoon and 170 in Prince Albert, Sask., were headed back by 5 p.m. CST

"Yesterday and today we have been helping people onto buses and issuing gas money allotments to help get people home," said Valentine.

Duane McKay, commissioner of emergency management and safety. said air filters and cots will be set up in a school gym for people to go if they need respite from the smoke, even though the air quality has returned to a normal level.

More than 2,700 people fled the Cree communities in northeastern Saskatchewan two weeks ago amid heavy smoke. Flames came within three kilometres of Pelican Narrows, but no homes were lost.

Steve Roberts, executive director of wildfire management with the Ministry of Environment, said Thursday the area has received around 40 millimetres of rain in 48 hours, which has significantly reduced the spread of the wildfires,

He said reclamation work has begun on some of the land around the fires. Roberts explained that bulldozers were used to battle the blazes and land breaks were made, so landscaping is required.