A timelapse of the growth of the Fort McMurray fire between May 1 and May 26, 2016. (Maps courtesy: Natural Resources Canada)

There’s no place like home.

The time has finally come for Fort McMurray residents to return home after being evacuated nearly a month ago as a devastating forest fire ripped through the city. The process of re-entry, which began June 2 and is expected to continue through the middle of the month, has been accompanied by countless warm welcomes and words of encouragement as residents come to terms with damage that has rendered their city unrecognizable and in many ways unsafe.

The above timelapse created by Natural Resources Canada shows the fire’s progress throughout the month of May and powerfully demonstrates why firefighters described it as a 'beast' with a mind of its own.

About 10 per cent of the city was destroyed, and insurance losses are so far estimated at over $9 billion.

Though it is no longer threatening human settlements, the fire remains out of control and officials say it could burn well into the fall.

Related: How a 'perfect storm' of conditions led to the Fort McMurray wildfire