Residents of Fort McMurray’s return home

Four months after a wildfire tore through Fort McMurray, residents from two of the hardest-hit neighbourhoods were finally allowed to return home Wednesday.

But for many, there wasn’t a home to return to — nearly three out of every four houses in Abasand and Beacon Hill were destroyed by the fire last May.

In Abasand, there are 429 homes still standing and 245 in Beacon Hill. Of those 674 houses in Abasand and Beacon Hill, 439 have been given the greenlight by provincial officials for re-entry. Permits are also now available for residents hoping to rebuild. Evacuees have been allowed to visit their homes over the past month but Wednesday is the first time they are allowed to stay.

The process for re-entry is similar to what happened in June, when residents from areas that weren’t as badly affected were allowed to go home. The first phase of the re-entry plan goes from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Fort McMurray city councillor for Ward 1, Keith McGrath, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that agencies have been set up in Abasand and Beacon Hill to welcome the inhabitants.

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