Members of K’atl’odeeche First Nation are able to head home as of Sunday.
An announcement was made on the KFN social media feed Sept. 15 that residents could return as of 9 a.m. Sept. 17 — and that residents needed to be booked of of their hotel in Grande Prairie by 11 a.m. that day.
Several buses are transporting residents back home.
“If you feel you need additional days please call Karen Martel (587) 335-3270 or Atanda Norn (867) 875-8387,” reads the announcement. “If you are travelling back in your own vehicle, please bring food and water with you — enough for a day or two.
“Limited services will be available in both Hay River and on the Reserve for the next few days. No one will be left behind. Transportation will be scheduled for Monday, September 18” — time(s) to be confirmed. Reach out if you know of anyone who may need help coming home.”
Anyone returning on their own power is asked to drive safely and mind the speed limits as firefighters are still working along the highway. Drivers are being notified protective berms are not currently in place in areas, so driving the speed limit is paramount.
It notes that firefighters are still active in the community.
“Returning home to a wild-fire affected area may be stressful and traumatic,” says the notice. “There can be a lot to think about, including the safety of your loved ones, and everyone’s mental and physical well-being. Be prepared for burned landscape and trees, building and vehicles. Be prepared for fire activity, the smell of smoke and areas covered in ash and soot.
“Services such as water, food and garbage removal are not back in place yet. Please be patient as the community gets back up and running. Only emergency health services are available for the next week or two.
“There is the possibility of another evacuation. Stay safe and report any dangerous trees or fire activity. “