RCMP officers of the Cochrane/Bow Valley RCMP traffic unit have returned after being deployed to assist with neighbourhood security during the wildfire that threatened Fort McMurray.

Sgt. Vince Hetu, NCO of the Alberta RCMP Cochrane/Bow Valley Traffic Unit, says five officers from the Cochrane detachment and one from Banff were deployed for about a week and were among the 20 recruited from traffic units across the province.

The officers were assigned to patrol neighbourhoods and homes that were evacuated. The wet weather began shortly after their arrival, easing the serious threat being faced by the major northern city.

He says he's unaware of any incidents that occurred and believes Fort McMurray residents stood strong throughout the pending threat.

Fort McMurray went through an even more threatening situation in May 2016 when wildfire swept through the city, destroying 2,400 buildings, damaging another 500 and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta history.

With this fresh in their memories, the community knew exactly what to do.

"Most, if not all of the community members remember the fires of 2016, so there was a great deal of passion. there was a great deal of respect, and there was a great deal of community."

The deployment to Fort McMurray during the current wildfire season wasn't unique. Sgt. Hetu says last year, some of their members served in northwest Alberta.

What's new is a protocol that places traffic unit members on a seven day on-call rotation to respond to disasters, like wildfire and flood.

"In essence, our bags are packed, our car is ready to go, and we're ready to roll out to wherever we're needed. We're one phone call away from being dispatched." 

He calls it a brilliant move that will make a world of difference to members by taking the guessing out of whether they're going to be assigned and for how long.

During the 2013 flood he was deployed to High River and expected to be there for 48 to 72 hours. He headed home 15 days later.

"Now that it's more structured, with this schedule put in place, I can anticipate potentially being gone for that seven-day period, at which point another X number of members would be on call and would be ready to respond should they be needed."

He stresses they would only be deployed during major emergencies.

On May 18, the evacuation order was lifted for the 6,600 residents of the Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek, and Grayling Terrace neighbourhoods of Fort McMurray.

A fire ban remains in place for the area north of Lake Athabasca in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. Fire advisories are in effect for the High Level Forest Area and the area south of Lake Athabasca in the Fort McMurray Forest Area.

On May 22 the off-highway vehicle restriction for the southern portion of the Fort McMurray Forest Area were lifted.

Precipitation and cooler temperatures have aided firefighters battle many of the wildfires burning on the landscape. Despite these conditions, Wildlife officials say it is important remember to remain vigilant, cause a wildfire can still start in cool and wet conditions.