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Reduced fire threat, but still no return for Canada evacuees

Update: May, 13/2016 - 14:53
A burnt out pick up truck is seen in the driveway of a burnt down home in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on May 9, 2016. — AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

MONTREAL  The threat posed by the massive fire that led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Canada has diminished, but it will take time before residents can return home, officials said Thursday.

Rescue crews have restored electricity downtown but still must do the same for gas and drinking water, as well as the sewer system.

"As the immediate threat has been reduced, we’re shifting to stabilization and recovery for reentree when it’s safe to do so," the province of Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee said during a press conference.

Government inspectors must finish examining 520 houses and buildings that suffered damage, in addition to the 2,400 completely destroyed by the flames.

Meanwhile, the only hospital for hundreds of kilometers was damaged by water and smoke, and must also be cleaned, she said.

The entire city of 100,000 people was evacuated last week. Its suburbs suffered major damage, but the city center was largely spared.

"I know that this is not the news that Fort McMurray and area residents wanted to hear. But this is what we need to do to ensure safety," Larivee said.

She added that the government will present a detailed plan of return for the evacuees in approximately 10 days.

The 850 firefighters deployed to the area are battling priority hot spots around the city thanks to infrared surveillance, said Chad Morrison, director of the province’s fire services.

The main blaze, which has destroyed 2,410 square kilometers in a dozen days, continued to stretch eastward Thursday, ravaging uninhabited zones just 25 kilometers from the neighboring province of Saskatchewan, Fort McMurray fire chief Darby Allen said.  AFP








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