Some Hydro workers back but evacuation order still in effect for Churchill Falls

This webcam photo shows what conditions look like at the Churchill Falls airport on Monday morning. (Nav Canada - image credit)
This webcam photo shows what conditions look like at the Churchill Falls airport on Monday morning. (Nav Canada - image credit)
This webcam photo shows what conditions look like at the Churchill Falls airport on Monday morning.
This webcam photo shows what conditions look like at the Churchill Falls airport on Monday morning.

This webcam photo shows what conditions look like at the Churchill Falls airport on Monday morning. (Nav Canada)

While some essential workers have been able to return to Churchill Falls to help run a power plant that has been under the siege of forest fires, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says the evacuation order is still in effect and, for now, only those needed will be contacted to return.

About 750 people were ordered on June 19 to flee Churchill Falls, a company town that exists to keep Hydro's generating station running.

The remaining skeleton staff were forced to leave last Tuesday, after a raging forest fire jumped the Churchill River and moved closer to the town and its power plant.

As weather conditions improved, like increased humidity in the air, low temperatures and rainfall, some essential workers were able to return late last week.

"Only critical staff continue to have access to the Town of Churchill Falls at this time. We are currently working on changeover of people with a second shift of critical personnel," Hydro said in a statement posted on its website early Sunday evening.

It added only those needed will be contacted to go back to work.

The statement said Department of Forestry officials are "monitoring a forecast for hot, dry weather" from Monday to Wednesday.

"As we saw during evacuation, the situation can change quickly," the statement said.

Although the Trans-Labrador Highway is now open, Hydro said there is no access to Churchill Falls.

There are currently no unplanned power outages listed on the Crown corporation's website.

Environment Canada metrologist Wanda Batten said Labrador interior's weather will be pleasant with sunny skies through Wednesday, adding that temperatures won't be as high like they have been.

"But still warm nonetheless. They're in the low twenties today and tomorrow," she told St. John's Morning Show on Monday morning.

According to Newfoundland and Labrador's wildfire dashboard, there were nine active fires in Labrador on Monday morning.

Of the two fires threatening the town, the Mount Hyde Lake fire — which has been menacing the town and at one point jumped over the airport — is still listed as out of control. The more distant Twin Falls fire is now listed as under control, as opposed to previously being listed as being held.

The fire ban that had been put in place across Newfoundland and parts of Labrador to curtail the chance of other fires igniting and diverting resources was lifted on Friday.

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