Residents forced out of Fort McMurray neighbourhoods due to fire cleared to return

Evacuees returning home

The Alberta municipality governing the oilsands hub of Fort McMurray says residents ordered out due to a nearby wildfire are clear to return home as of today.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has lifted the evacuation order for the Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek and Grayling Terrace neighbourhoods on the city's southern edge.

About 6,600 residents of those neighbourhoods were forced to hastily leave their homes on Tuesday when the fire was still deemed out-of-control, but a statement from the municipality says firefighters have made considerable progress since then.

The statement says recent rainy weather has helped tamp down the blaze and reduce its intensity, allowing those fighting it to bring it under control and erect fireguards at its northern edge.

The municipality says local highways are open in both directions and emergency social services, including food and accommodation, will remain available until noon on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the Parker Lake and Patry Creek wildfires continue to threaten the northeastern British Columbia town of Fort Nelson, which remains under an evacuation order. The two blazes stand at a combined size of 841 square kilometres as of Saturday morning.

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