A week after other evacuees of Fort McMurray were allowed to return to their homes, the final group of wildfire evacuees is being allowed back to the community so they can see their homes – or what’s left of them.
Escorts will be required for those whose homes in Abasand, Waterways and Beacon Hill were destroyed.
Others whose homes are still standing can go back but only long enough to check their properties and get a few belongings.
Emergency management director Bob Couture says, “They’re not going to be allowed to stay. The recommendation is they’re only going in to obtain essential items and then back out again. That process will last from 8 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock in the evening.”
Andrew Wilcox, program director at a 620 CKRM’s sister station 100.5 CRUZ FM, has a house that’s still standing in Abasand, but he can’t return to it for good because it’s not safe.
He says he will be able to retrieve some of his belongings there on Wednesday.
Wilcox says he got most sentimental items out of the house when the city was evacuated last month, but he’s looking forward to being reunited with an antique radio that belonged to his mom.
He says he knows what it will be like for those returning to rubble because he lost everything in an Edmonton apartment fire in 2005.
Residents returning to Fort McMurray will have to stay behind fences and direct search personnel on the other side of the barricades.
They won’t be allowed to stay – even if their homes are still standing.
The wildfire flames left toxic ash which poses a safety hazard.