Many Fort Simpson residents won’t be able to return for 4-6 days after ice clears

An aerial shot of Fort Simpson. (Supplied by the GNWT.)
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Fort Simpson residents living on the island could have another four to six days of waiting before they can return home as ice continues to slowly move along the Mackenzie River.

The village had been providing escorted trips to the island — the area closest to the waterfront — so people could check on their homes. Those trips, which were escorted by emergency service workers, were paused on May 11 due to safety concerns, but restarted the following day, and are happening between noon and 6 p.m. today. 

A post on the Facebook page for the Village of Fort Simpson told residents they wouldn’t be able to move to the island for some time.

“Looking forward it is important for folks to understand that once the ice has receded it will be 4-6 days before the island is safe to return to,” a spokesperson for the village said in a post to Facebook.

“Critical infrastructure will need to be assessed and be safely working. this includes our power-water-sewer.”

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Ice movement has been slow over the past few days, remaining fairly stationary recently. Water levels are currently at 15.4 metres. In the town’s own guidelines, water levels have to dip below 14 metres, when the village would only be on evacuation alert.

Electricity has been cut off intermittently over the past few days, with propane tanks being distributed to residents to avoid using too much electricity.

Fort Simpson residents were evacuated over the weekend as water levels reached higher than 15 metres. Fort Simpson residents had had power cut because of the flooding, with residents on higher ground urged to cut their power usage.

The flooding came after Fort Simpson saw unseasonably high temperatures on Friday, with temperatures set to remain high throughout the weekend.

To arrange an escort, residents can text 867-695-6398 with your information.

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