Canada’s NWT capital evacuated

Hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada’s Northwest Territories have resulted in emergency declarations and the evacuation of the capital city of Yellowknife — by road and by air. About 20,000 residents of Yellowknife have been ordered to leave, as more than 230 fires burn across the territory and smoke drifts south into the United States. CNN reported that Yellowknife accounts for about half of the total population of the remote territory, located north of Alberta and east of Yukon.

The BBC reported that thousands of people on the outskirts of Yellowknife, one of the largest cities in Canada’s north, have crowded into the local airport and choked the road out of town. Hundreds have lined up for emergency military evacuation flights, and officials have given Yellowknife residents a deadline of noon Friday to leave.

NASA image of NWT smoke August 16, 2023
NASA image of NWT smoke August 16, 2023

“We’re all tired of the word unprecedented,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane.

This afternoon the fire had burned to within 16km (10 miles) of the city. “Very tough days ahead,” said the territorial fire service, predicting more high winds. The closest evacuation shelter is 1,100km south of Yellowknife.

Military evacuation flights were scheduled today, with five flights to Calgary in the neighboring province of Alberta. The federal transport minister said Air Canada is capping the cost of flights out of Yellowknife and has added two extra flights out of the city.

One of the fires west of Yellowknife is at 165,000 hectares — over 407,000 acres. “We’re all tired of the word unprecedented,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane. “Yet there is no other way to describe this situation in the Northwest Territories.”

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4 thoughts on “Canada’s NWT capital evacuated”

  1. Capt LD … I hope your family and friends are all okay and get out of there safely. I hope Canada never has another trauma year that even comes close to this one.

  2. The McDougall fire, wind extremely high winds has jumped Lake Okanagan to the Eastside of the lake with three new large fires . Thousands have been evacuated and unknown number of homes burned. The McDougall has burned homes down to the waterline on the west side of the lake.
    The town of Kelowna is under a Emergency Declaration with aircraft, engines and crews responding from the entire southern British Colombia to help in this battle on both sides of the Lake.
    I have numerous relatives who have been evacuated and can only send prayers and well wishes for all involved as all air traffic in and out of Kelowna International airport has been closed to allow for firefighting aircraft to do their work.


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