Issued Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 2 PM – Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Emergency Operations Centre
Effective Wednesday, September 14th, Chief Peter A. Beatty of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) has rescinded the general evacuation order for the Pelican Narrows community, following recommendations of the Province of Saskatchewan and its ministries. Due to continued air quality concerns, this rescindment is valid only for the General Community Members and Priority 3 persons. However, the evacuation order remains in place for all the Priority 1 and 2 persons as identified by PBCN Health Services. Pregnant women, infants and those with respiratory or health issues are among those that may be considered Priority 1 & 2 persons.
Ray Unrau, Deputy Commissioner of Fire Safety, explained in a media call that several factors have led to the decision to rescind the evacuation order. The lack of direct fire threat to the access in and out of the community, lack of fire threat to the community or its infrastructure, the air quality is within acceptable limits and critical services will be in the community when the evacuees arrive back in Pelican Narrows. While smoke is still an issue, air scrubbers have been provided to Pelican Narrows, Sandy Bay and Deschambault Lake.
Evacuees in personal vehicles began returning Wednesday evening under police escort, buses will begin returning today and convoys are still being organized .
The first returning evacuees – those who fled in private vehicles – were expected to reach Pelican Narrows last night under police escort. Those who left the community by bus would return by bus Thursday. The 9 pm to 7 am curfew will still be in effect until all community members have returned.
The communities of Jan Lake and Birch Portage still remain evacuated.
All evacuees in Prince Albert are required to check in at the Senator Allan Bird Memorial Centre. Those currently being sheltered in Saskatoon, are being asked to check in at the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre for fuel card and further instructions. Evacuees are being advised to bring their own supply of groceries wherever possible, and Emergency Social Services will cover fuel allotments for personal vehicles.
Bus transportation will begin starting today, Thursday, September 14th. Those travelling by buses will need to reserve their seat by adding your name to the sign-up sheet posted at the Henk Ruys soccer centre (Saskatoon) or PAGC’s Senator Allan Bird Memorial gym (PA).
•2 buses departing Travelodge for Pelican Narrows at 9:30 a.m.
•2 buses departing Travelodge for Pelican Narrows at 10:30 a.m.
•2 buses departing Henk Ruys soccer centre for Pelican Narrows at 11:30 a.m.
Evacuees taking the bus home need to be at the Senator Allan Bird Memorial gym at 10 a.m.
Those staying at hotels can take cabs **The taxi driver will receive payment from Red Cross staff upon arrival at the Sen. Allan Bird gym.
•1 bus departing Sen. Allan Bird for Pelican Narrows at 11 a.m.
•1 bus departing Sen. Allan Bird for Sandy Bay at 11 a.m.
•1 bus departing Sen. Allan Bird for Pelican Narrows at 12 noon