Because of anticipated cooler and wetter weather, the provincial government is lifting the fire ban imposed on much of the province, ahead of the May long weekend.
The ban included camp fires, open fires and off-highway vehicles.
However, it is still in effect in the Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche forest areas.
It may also still be in effect in municipalities and on federal lands.
Meanwhile, Fire crews in Fort McMurray had to return to the same Thickwood condo complex yesterday that they were at earlier this week.
Municipal Affairs minister Danielle Larivee says a lot of the information they’re seeking still isn’t known.
“There was a five unit condo complex on in south Thickwood that was damaged by fire (Wednesday),” says Larivee. “The cause is unknown, and an investigation is underway. This is the same complex that suffered fire damage earlier this week, natural gas lines in the neighbourhood were pressurized. But, gas was not connected to those residences.”
The province is also seeing dwindling demand at the debit card distribution centres and has decided to close them at noon on Friday.
Larivee says the evacuee reception centres however will stay open.
Meanwhile the planning continues for next month when people will start returning to Fort McMurray.
Welcome centres will be set up in each neighborhood where a welcoming package will be handed out.
Plans are in the works to assist home owners with info on how to deal with smoke and water damage.
Alberta senior wildlife manager Chad Morrison says fire crews have been successful holding the fire back from oilsands facilities and work camps in northern Alberta.
The massive fire, which has grown to about five thousand square kilometres, has crossed the Saskatchewan boundary into other forested areas.
Morrison says the path of destruction has been enormous.
“We’re really, at this point, the total hectares believed burnt on the fire has totalled what we had for the full fire season last year,” says Morrison. “Obviously, it’s a large scale fire from that magnitude and we’re still only in May at this time.”
The province has said more than 80,000 residents evacuated from Fort McMurray two weeks ago may start returning to the community on June 1, if it is safe.
The fire destroyed about 24-hundred buildings, or 10 per cent of the city. (cp/km/sj)