The Town Council of Hay River has approved a re-entry plan for the community.
Mayor Kandis Jameson announced the approval of the plan during a media availability on Friday afternoon.
Similar to Yellowknife’s re-entry plan, essential workers will return first, followed by members of the general public without health complications. At the same time, the evacuation order will be downgraded to an evacuation notice: Residents are advised to remain aware of the proximity of the fire and watch for updates from government officials.
Despite the approval of the plan, there remains a threat from wildfire, and the weekend is forecast to be a difficult one for firefighting. There is still no date for when residents will be allowed to return home, although it should be four days after essential workers arrive in the community. A decision on dates is expected to be made early next week. A flight pre-registration service similar to the one used by Yellowknife is also in the works.
Further south, there is little relief coming for crews fighting the Wood Buffalo Complex of fires near Fort Smith: Hot and dry conditions are in the forecast for the weekend, and no rain is expected any time soon. That Town extended its state of emergency until next Friday, September 15.
Meanwhile, repatriation flights continue from down south to Yellowknife. Those in Calgary waiting for a flight should go to the Radisson Hotel at 6620 – 36th Street Northeast to register for a flight as soon as possible. Flights are scheduled to leave throughout the day on Saturday.
For evacuees in Calgary and Edmonton, Sunday marks both the last day of repatriation flights and the last day for hotel reservations, including those that were originally extended into next week.
Evacuees in other Alberta hubs should not travel to Calgary or Edmonton for their flights, but stay put and wait for confirmation of the flights for which they have pre-registered.
Next week will see the return of many health and social services to Yellowknife, including medical travel bookings, dialysis, chemotherapy, and IV therapy. The Sobering Centre and Day Shelter are also back to full capacity.
Finally, Highway 7 has reopened to traffic along the B.C. border. A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson warns it could close again at a moment’s notice.