Some Fort McMurray residents will be able to start returning to their homes in stages this week.
But Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says concerns about environmental contamination will delay the return of up to two-thousand evacuees until as late as September.
Notley says more than 500 homes and about a dozen apartment complexes that escaped a wildfire earlier this month in three otherwise heavily damaged neighbourhoods are not safe to be lived in yet.
She says that conclusion was reached with health experts following tests that found ash tainted with toxic heavy metals and carcinogens such dioxins and furans.
Ian Seggie lives in an area that sustained little damage from the wildfire that forced the evacuation of more than 80-thousand from the city about a month ago.
He says he’s eager to get back, but the air quality will be a big factor in whether he sticks around.
Returning residents have been advised to take enough necessities like food, water and medication to last 14 days.
(The Canadian Press)