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Yellowknife to evacuate by Friday as wildfires burn across NWT

Heavy smoke from nearby wildfires fills the sky as sandhill cranes feed with houseboats in the distance in Yellowknife on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. Residents of Yellowknife are being asked to evacuate the city by Friday, Aug. 18 at noon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Angela Gzowski We

Yellowknife is now under evacuation order and all residents are asked to be out of the city by Friday at noon.

Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Shane Thompson gave the order during a press conference Aug. 16.

All residents are required to be out of the city by 12:00 p.m., Aug. 18.

“The evacuation order will be issued through phone after this press conference finished,” said Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty, “Please stay safe on the road, and watch out each other.”

Minister Shane Thompson said that evacuees were ordered to evacuate by plane or by road by Friday, the GNWT is working closely with the airline company for the people evacuated by air. He said the reason for the order was to allow enough time for the city to evacuate safely while roads are still safe to do so.

Thompson said that aside from a lone firefighter who died fighting fires in Fort Liard, no fatalities have been reported so far in the wildfires.

“The country is watching and they are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane. “We’re all in this together, but individually we choose how to act. We must take steps to stay calm and not make decisions that would put other people in danger.

“When you don’t evacuate you put yourself and you put First Responders at risk.”

Cochrane advised people who are unable to travel by road because of financial reasons to report to the Multiplex to get bus service out of the city.

Speak of the Legislative Assembly Fredrick Blake Jr. has ordered a postponement of second sitting of the 19th Legislative Assembly.

More to come.