As wildfires approaches N.W.T., Yellowknife residents have been asked to evacuate city

Alberta Wildfires. Image credit: Unsplash Christopher Burns

#NWTWildfires, #YellowknifeEvacuation

Yellowknife/CMEDIA: With wildfires approaching, N.W.T., Yellowknife residents have reportedly been ordered last evening by the officials to begin evacuating the city immediately.

According to the evacuation order, people living in certain areas including  Ingraham Trail, in Dettah, and Kam Lake, Grace Lake and the Engle business district  should leave immediately, while other residents of Yellowknife and Ndilo should leave by noon MT tomorrow.

A “phased approach” to evacuating will reportedly facilitate citizens to get out safely by car or by plane, said Environment Minister Shane Thompson.

 “The fire now represents a real threat to the city,” Thompson told a news conference, adding it could reach the outskirts of the city by the weekend. The fire was about 17 kilometres from the city, he said yesterday.

Nearly 22,000 people are being affected by the extraordinary evacuation order.

Thompson said Wednesday that the highway from Yellowknife to Alberta is safe to drive. He also said that pilot vehicles will also be on the highway to escort evacuees through smoky areas in the fire zone.

People unable to leave by road, and immunocompromised residents with other conditions are being asked to register for evacuation flights, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today. 

Officials urged evacuees to not leave by boat.

Plans were underway to help people experiencing homelessness, Thompson said. 

Calling the situation unprecedented, Premier Caroline Cochrane said “There’s no other way to describe it.” 

Yellowknife and surrounding communities now join Fort Smith, Hay River, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Enterprise and Jean Marie River — all N.W.T. communities which have seen residents displaced due to out-of-control fires.