Residents in Zone 1 will be allowed to head home for the first time in almost a month, as the voluntary re-entry to Fort McMurray is set for June 1st.
Zone 1 consists of Lower Townsite, Anzac, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Gregoire Lake Estates.
There are concerns for residents who will return to the town on Wednesday. Edmonton Fire Chief Ken Block says one fear is the 20/20 crossover.
“When the relative humidity approaches 20 per cent and the air temperature hits 20 degrees or higher, things really start to pick up,” says Chief Block. “You’ve got some deep seeded embers in the forest floor and when that relative humidity and the temperature kind of cross over at that mark, if there’s any wind at all, you start to get open flame and that’s happening with a fair bit of regularity.”
Returning Fort McMurray residents will also be faced with a boil water advisory and air quality warnings. There is also a reminder for residents to bring extra supplies such as groceries and medications.
Chief Block says their crews will remain in Fort Mac, to help oversee re-entry, and will be on standby in case fires break out.
“We’re on the ground up there now, we’re more than prepared to stay as long as they need us. If they make a decision at the last moment that they need another week of support we’re there, we’re good with that. It’s a matter of changing out our crews out again.”
Chief Block adds when Fort McMurray is ready and no longer requires assistance, the crews will be ready to either bring equipment back home, or send for a new group to take equipment back. sj/tl