Residents of Canada’s far north were informed on Friday that they would soon be able to return home after a wildfire that forced more than 20,000 people from Yellowknife to flee was contained.
Three weeks ago, the Northwest Territories’ capital and a sizable portion of the rest of the region bordering the Arctic received evacuation orders.
The city stated in a statement that Wednesday might mark the beginning of evacuees’ returns.
In a statement, the city said there had been “no reported fire-related damage to infrastructure and property within Yellowknife.”
The closest fire, it said, was “being held.”
More than 240 wildfires continue to burn across the region but no new fires were reported in the past 24 hours, said fire officials.
Separated by several hundreds of kilometers, most of the villages and hamlets in the territory had been difficult to evacuate.
Yellowknife had declared an emergency suddenly as fires raged closer.
Thousands crammed into the local airport to board emergency evacuation flights or joined convoys that snaked to safety to the south on the only open highway.
The order to evacuate marked another chapter of a terrible summer for wildfires in Canada, with vast swathes of land scorched and by September 200,000 people displaced nationwide.