Residents of Slave Lake are marking a milestone. Today marks the first year anniversary since the devastating wildfire that destroyed nearly one third of the town.

Last year's fire destroyed 330 single detached homes and almost 170 apartments, and left thousands of residents evacuated from the town for weeks.

Over the past year the rebuilding process has begun for many residents.

"We thought at first it would take months and months -- we thought maybe we could start re-building in the spring -- well we started in September," said Slave Lake Mayor Karina Pillary-Kinnee.

The mayor says progress has been steady, with 209 building permits issued.

Many remember the images of Town Hall burning to the ground last summer, and officials now say construction on the government building is expected to be complete by next summer.

Local contractors have the capacity to build about 20 homes a year -- but with hundreds destroyed by the fire -- external help was needed. And most of the contractors have come from out of town.

"The people we are working for simply couldn't find contractors, so we are bringing in all our trades from Grande Prairie, to do electrical plumbing," said Cyril Isaac with Refuge Construction.

Extra costs also need to be factored in for the external help. The town estimated that lodging and meal expenses for out-of-town workers would amount to a 37 per cent increase in buildings costs, but fortunately most have insurance to cover that expense.

A delay in finding contractors also means many residents are still living in the 226 modular homes that remain in the town. Many residents are still waiting for their new homes to be rebuilt.

With files from Sonia Sunger