Evacuation order lifted in central Alberta town as thousands more remain out of homes

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An evacuation order for a west-central Alberta town has been lifted as wildfires continue to keep thousands of people out of their homes in the province.

Residents of Drayton Valley and in some parts of Brazeau County are being allowed to return after the areas were evacuated two weeks ago.

Drayton Valley, 145 kilometres west of Edmonton, has a population of about 7,000.

Meanwhile, about 1,300 residents were ordered to evacuate the town of Swan Hills northeast of Edmonton.

Alberta Wildfire officials say about 19,000 people are out of their homes as 86 active wildfires burn in the province, 24 of which are out of control.

About 900 firefighters and military personnel from outside of the province and 1,600 people from Alberta Wildfire are working to put out the flames.

Hot, dry and windy conditions are expected to continue throughout Western Canada, potentially creating more intense and unpredictable fires.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2023.

The Canadian Press