Hay River prepares to re-open, while the fires rage on

Residents of Hay River may be able to return this week, while KFN residents await a re-entry plan

GNWT firefighters pictured in Fort Smith. (NWT Fire/Facebook)

Hay River residents are expected to return home as early as May 26, although the possibility of evacuation remains.

That is according to the town of Hay River in a post on its official Facebook page.

While Hay River Residents prepare to return home, over 300 members from Kátł’odeeche First Nation await a plan.

Due to extremely dry weather conditions, the fire is expected to produce more flare-ups and return throughout the fire season, according to the Town. This will put the core of the community, between Vale Island and Mile 5, on an evacuation alert.

Once the status of the fire changes and essential services are restored, the alert will be lifted.

Residents with distinct health requirements like a chronic illness or the need for assisted living are asked to await re-entry into the community to allow for services to ramp up again.

A fire ban in the community will remain in effect.

Air Tindi will be providing free air travel to those affected in Yellowknife from May 26th to June 1st. To reserve a spot, residents can email reservations@airtindi.com or call 867-669-8205.

While residents may soon be able to return home, a week and a half after wildfire first flared up near Hay River and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, and there appears to be no end in sight for fire crews: As of 9:30 a.m. on May 24, after another day of extremely dry conditions, the fire was still considered “out of control,” according to the GNWT.

As of the last assessment on the afternoon of May 23, the fire had burned through more than 3200 hectares of land.

As of the afternoon of May 24, Highway 5 remains open, although the Department of Infrastructure warns this could change with little notice. Also that afternoon, Highway 2 reopened north of Highway 5 for essential staff and in anticipation of re-entry.

This story will continue to be updated as it unfolds.