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Hay River officials announce three-step reentry plan for evacuees

The Town of Hay River has launched stage one of its three-step community reentry plan to bring evacuees back to their homes.

Following a meeting yesterday that was stopped short due to technical issues, Hay River officials and the government worked together to develop an action plan to help Hay River evacuees return as safely as possible. Senior Administrative Officer for the Town of Hay River Glenn Smith along with fire officials, announced yesterday that living with the fire through the summer is inevitable.

“The KFN fire will be active throughout the summer,” Smith says. “Progressing the fire’s current status of ‘out of control’ to one that is being held with no significant growth is a key condition prior to reentry,” he adds. 

Mayor Kandis Jameson spoke with MyTrueNorthNow to clarify what each step looks like for the town and community members and the safety risks associated with a reopening.

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“We are executing stage one of our community reentry plan starting today, so that means essential services will be able to return today at noon,” Jameson says. 

“Stage two would be community reentry under an alert, meaning that we still have a wildfire that is not under control, so those people will be allowed to return tomorrow, at 12:00 pm,” Jameson told MyTrueNorthNow. “Upon reentry, residents should still be prepared to evacuate in case something does flare up in the heat of the summer,” Smith added.

Hay River officials are reminding residents that it may take a few days for some services to reopen and due to associated risks with limited healthcare services and the airport remaining closed, stage three of the reentry plan advises individuals with special needs to stay put, until certain services become available.

“Those identified with special health care needs such as those that require long-term care, supported living, those with dialysis or chronic conditions would be recommended to remain outside of the community, Smith says. “Stage three would be persons with special needs allowed to re-enter.” Mayor Jameson adds.

KFN community members are advised to look to K’atl’odeeche officials who are developing their own method of reentry.

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