Pikangikum wildfire evacuees slowly returning home

Some of the 450 Northwestern Ontario wildfire evacuees staying in Regina are returning home.

About 40 were flown back on charter flights Tuesday.

Duane McKay of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said Ontario officials are dictating when and how many residents can return on each flight.

“This is not a scheduled return to the community, these are opportunities when community leaders say that ‘we have a plane available, and that we can accommodate them back in the community,’” McKay said. “We’re really at their disposal.”

McKay said the delay of one flight until about 7:30 last night is an indication weather is also a factor.

“That’s one of the issues where we’re trying to work with Ontario on these weather systems, which we’re tracking through the province and are then creating travel conditions that we need to be aware of as it travels through Manitoba and certainly into Northwestern Ontario.”

McKay adds they are prepared to send up to four flights out of Regina Wednesday pending word from officials in Ontario.

McKay points out have not received a full-on repatriation order but heavy rain and favourable winds in the community are a good sign.


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