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Town of Swan Hills preparing for re-entry

Large wildfire still burning 16 kilometres northwest of Swan Hills
The Town of Swan Hills, as seen in this aerial photo taken before the evacuation of the community on May 16, is still being threatened by wildfire.

Though the evacuation order still remains in effect, the Town of Swan Hills is making some preparations to start bringing people back into the community. 

According to an update posted to the Town of Swan Hills website today, May 23, the Town of Swan Hills has begun to move some essential personnel back into the community to begin making arrangements for a re-entry. 

“This will be communicated to the public once all trigger points for a safe return have been met,” the update states, noting that all utilities have remained on with no outages. 

Roughly three fires continue to burn northwest and north of town — SWF-057, SWF-063 and SWF-064. 

According to the provincial government’s wildfire status webpage, the fire closest to Swan Hills, SWF-063, has burned an estimated 123,000 hectares and is only about 16 kilometres northwest of the town. 

However, the precipitation that fell on the area on May 22 and 23, along with the onset of cooler temperatures, has been “conductive to minimal fire behaviour,” the town’s website states. 

Crews continue to work on the Swan Hills area fires, with hand crews managing hot areas and potential flare-ups while heavy equipment continues to work on fireguard lines. 

An evacuation order was first issued for the Town of Swan Hills just after 1 p.m. on May 16. A reception centre was set up at the Barrhead Agrena for evacuees to register, though they were also given the option of registering by phone. 

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