Alberta to have plan within 2 weeks for returning evacuees

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Alberta's municipal affairs minister says the province will have a plan within two weeks for getting residents of wildfire-ravagd oil sands capital Fort McMurray back into their homes.

Danielle Larivee said in a news conference on Thursday that she realizes how stressful it is for evacuees — thousands of them in the Edmonton area — but that their safety is the most important thing.

Lairvee says authorities need to make sure there will be no more danger from the wildfire and that natural gas, water and a functioning hospital are all in place before residents can return.

She says power and data service have been restored to the downtown area and damage to homes is being assessed now.

More than 80,000 evacuees are receiving financial assistance from the Alberta government and Canadian Red Cross.