TELEGRAPH CREEK, B.C. — An evacuation is finally coming to an end for residents of a small community in northwestern British Columbia, three months after wildfires forced them to flee.
Tahltan Emergency Operations Centre director Feddie Louis says residents of Telegraph Creek will be allowed to return to the village, more than 400 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, beginning Nov. 15.
She says in a news release that it’s hoped everyone will be back by Dec. 20 but specific return dates will depend on when each home as been “cleaned of smoke damage and refurbished.”
The Alkali Lake wildfire broke out Aug. 1 and within days had spread to merge with three other wildfires to create a massive blaze that charred 1,200 square kilometres.
The Tahltan Nation says more than 160 structures were destroyed, including 21 homes and two businesses in Telegraph Creek and more than 100 other historical structures and fish camps.
Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott visited the region in mid-October and posted on Facebook that the “Tahltan Nation itself incurred the worst structural damage caused by wildfires of any First Nations community in recorded Canadian history.”
The lifting of the evacuation order is “another testament to the strength and resilience of the Tahltan people,” Philpott says in the Tahltan release.
She says the federal government continues to actively support the community as it rebuilds.
The Canadian Press