BARRHEAD — Swan Hills residents may finally return home, though under the condition that they be ready to evacuate within four hours of receiving notice to do so.
According to an update posted to the Town of Swan Hills website at 2 p.m. on May 24, the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted and effectively downgraded to a four-hour evacuation alert.
“Please be aware that the wildfire danger still exists in our region, and you should be prepared in the event the situation worsens,” the website states.
Residents returning to Swan Hills are urged to follow all directions given by law enforcement, town representatives and any signage that may be posted. They should also keep their medication, important documents and three days’ worth of supplies at the ready.
A huge wildfire burning northwest of Swan Hills originally prompted the evacuation order to be issued just after 1 p.m. on May 16. A reception centre was set up at the Barrhead Agrena for evacuees to register.
For those needing transportation back to Swan Hills, the website states that there will be a bus parked at the Barrhead Agrena on the morning of Thursday, May 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. This will be the only transport back into town, the website states.
Once dropped off at the Keyano Centre in Swan Hills, another bus will bring residents back to their homes at 1 p.m.
The website states that utilities were not disrupted during the evacuation.
The local grocery store, pharmacy, bank, restaurants, fuel stations, motels and hotels, and other retail stores will be open regular hours.
Swan Hills School will also return to its regular schedule on May 25. According to the Pembina Hills website, wellness supports will be available to parents/students. Further questions about the re-entry can be e-mailed to [email protected].
The local Swan Hills Family and Community Support Services will be open May 25 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with resiliency support for evacuees.