Photo courtesy Saskatchewan Department of Highways.

Nearly one thousand people have returned home after being evacuated by northern Saskatchewan wildfires.

Emergency Social Services says around 930 people have been able to return home to Pelican Narrows and Sandy Bay after being forced from their homes last month.

However people with healthcare concerns, pregnant women and those taking care of children under two years of age remain evacuated.

The Hank Ruys Soccer Centre in Saskatoon has now been closed as an evacuation centre and those still in Saskatoon are staying in hotels.

In addition, evacuation orders have been rescinded for Tyrell Lake and Jan Lake with residents of those communities able to return home. Officials hope to rescind the Birch Portage evacuation later today. They say there is a clean-up operation to undertake and they will return those residents when that operation is complete.

Highway 106 has been opened to regular traffic, however, officials say smoke continues to be an issue on the highway and surrounding communities.

Meanwhile, Duane McKay, the province’s head of emergency management, says there is good news on the fire-fighting efforts.

“Right now the conditions are very good,” said McKay. “We’ve got a different situation than we have seen in the past. With the changing weather we have seen significant progress on the fire and the impact on communities.”

He says smoke is the biggest concern for crews at this point, however, air purification systems have been set up in buildings in Pelican Narrows, Sandy Bay and Deschambault Lake.

There continues to be 300 people directly working to battle the fires that continue to burn.

Officials say they are not likely to see the fires extinguished until either fall rains or winter help them in their efforts.