Canada far north evacuees told they may be able to return home soon after wildfires

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Canadian far north residents on Friday were told they would soon be allowed to return home, after a wildfire that forced Yellowknife’s more than 20,000 inhabitants to flee was tamed.

The capital of the Northwest Territories and much of the rest of the near-Arctic domain had been ordered evacuated three weeks ago.

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In a statement, the city said evacuees could start returning on Wednesday.

“There has been no reported fire related damage to infrastructure and property within Yellowknife,” a statement from the city said.

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.

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