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Slave Lake residents touring town


Residents of Slave Lake will be given an opportunity to tour their fire-ravaged town this week.
Residents of Slave Lake will be given an opportunity to tour their fire-ravaged town this week.

Matt Casey, staff writer

May 24, 2011 — The first group of 250 evacuees from the town toured the region on Monday, seeing the fire damage for the first time.

Fire crews are still working round the clock to battle hot spots around the town
Fire crews are still working round the clock to battle hot spots around the town

One Slave Lake resident says it looked like a nuclear bomb hit his town. The man was part of the first group of 250 residents to tour the fire ravaged community on Monday. Evacuees were brought into the town by bus. For safety reasons, people were not allowed to exit the vehicle. More buses are set to take another group of residents into the town today. Officials say the tours are designed give residents the chance to grieve privately.

It's been over one week since a devastating wildfire reduced about one third of the town to ashes. Over the weekend the 7,000 evacuees were told it will be at least one more week before they can officially return to the town.

Fires still burning

Firefighters continue to battle hot spots in the region. The Slave Lake fire was reported as being held Monday evening by the Government of Alberta. However, officials say the fire can still be extremely active and unpredictable. The fire has scorched more than 4,500 hectares of land.

More than 2,000 firefighters are fighting wildfires in the province. 500 of them are from Ontario and British Columbia. As of Monday, 44 wildfires were burning in the province of Alberta. A province wide fire ban remains in effect. More than 300,000 hectares of land have been consumed by fires in the province.

So far only one death has been associated with the fire. A helicopter pilot was killed after crashing into Lesser Slave Lake while battling flames on Friday.

With files from the Canadian Press and Alexandra Pope

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