June 15th, 2024

Evacuation orders in and around Fort Nelson, B.C., lift Monday morning: mayor

By The Canadian Press on May 26, 2024.

Rob Fraser, mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which includes Fort Nelson, B.C. says evacuation orders that forced thousands from their homes due to wildfires, are set to lift at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Firefighters working the Parker Lake wildfire, designated G90267 by the B.C. Wildfire Service, are seen in a staging area along Highway 97 looking south with a water bladder and fire hose set up among charred grassland in a May 15, 2024, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

FORT NELSON, B.C. – Residents of Fort Nelson, B.C. and the Fort Nelson First Nation will be able to return home as of 8 a.m. on Monday morning, weeks after wildfires forced thousands to evacuate.

Rob Fraser, the mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality which includes Fort Nelson, says the municipality and the First Nation will jointly rescind their evacuation orders at that time, lift roadblocks and allow people to return.

About 4,700 residents were evacuated from Fort Nelson on May 10, when strong winds pushed the Parker Lake wildfire within a few kilometres of the town

In a statement posted online, Fraser says evacuation alerts will remain in place as active wildfires are still burning in the area, meaning residents should be prepared to leave again if needed.

The 123-square-kilometre Parker Lake fire destroyed four homes and damaged six other properties in the area.

Fraser says some of the properties are unsafe and people will be prohibited from entering until they are secured.

Online data posted by the BC Wildfire Service shows 10 wildfires classified as out of control in the province, including the Parker Lake and Patry Creek blazes near Fort Nelson.

Fraser says he is relieved and optimistic, while also sad for those who lost property.

“But mostly I’m happy that everybody’s getting an opportunity to come home here. And it’s been a long time, I know. We’ve all been stressed to the max doing what we can to try to get everybody home,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2024.

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