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Residents forced out of Fort McMurray neighbourhoods due to fire cleared to return

Wildfire crews have reported no further growth in the wildfire that continues to burn southwest of Fort McMurray, while Alberta Wildfire reports the same lack of growth allowed crews in the field to keep working on fireguards overnight. Alberta Wildfire crews return from fighting wildfires near Fort McMurray, Alta., Thursday, May 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Alberta municipality governing the oilsands hub of Fort McMurray says residents ordered out due to a nearby wildfire are clear to return home as of today.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has lifted the evacuation order for the Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace neighbourhoods on the city's southern edge.

About 6,600 residents of those neighbourhoods were forced to hastily leave their homes on Tuesday, but a statement from the municipality says firefighters have made considerable progress since then.

The statement says recent rainy weather has helped tamp down the blaze and reduce its intensity, allowing those fighting it to bring it under control and erect fireguards at its northern edge.

The municipality says local highways are open in both directions and emergency social services, including food and accommodation, will remain available until noon on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the Parker Lake and Patry Creek wildfires continue to threaten the northeastern British Columbia town of Fort Nelson, which remains under an evacuation order. The two blazes stand at a combined size of 841 square kilometres as of Saturday morning.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version suggested the fire was no longer out of control. In fact, fire officials say it remains out of control despite the lifting of the evacuation order

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