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More Halifax residents can return home Friday after wildfires


Many Tantallon residents who were evacuated due to wildfires that destroyed 151 homes in the area will be permitted to return home Friday, the Halifax Regional Municipality said.

Mayor Mike Savage said Halifax residents should expect an alert Friday with details for those in the Upper Tantallon area who will be able to return to their community.

“Tomorrow it is our intent, it is our plan, that the majority of people who were evacuated will be able to return to their homes,” Savage said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

There are about 4,100 residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality that are under evacuation orders as of Thursday evening.

Those living in areas most severely impacted by wildfires will have to wait a bit longer before they can return, said Erica Fleck, Halifax’s director of emergency management.

Fleck said residents from areas of “significant impact” should expect to remain evacuated for as long as 10 days while safety inspections continue and fencing is installed around destroyed homes.

These three locations in the "dark orange zone" on municipal mapping are where the bulk of the burned down structures, fuel spills and impassable roads are located.

HRM map of fire impact

“There’s a significant list of items that are still big safety risks in those areas,” Fleck said.

“As we get down to the nitty gritty, we have to take it street by street, and house by house to make sure we’re not sending people to an unsafe environment.”

The emergency management director said crews are working on identifying specific areas that are still dangerous that will be cordoned off with fencing before allowing residents to return.

Wildfires in the suburban area northwest of Halifax were first reported May 28 and more than 16,000 people were displaced at the height of evacuations.

Thursday marks the final day to register online with the Canadian Red Cross to receive $500 per household for evacuees. The organization said that residents who have been unable to register online can continue to call 1-800-863-6582 to access support. 

Fires are considered under control — but not out — in Westwood Hills, Tantallon and Hammonds Plains.

The Barrington Lake wildfire in Shelburne County that covers 23,525 hectares is still classified as "being held,” which means it is not moving, but is still not under control.  

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