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Helicopter with water bucket flies into thick wildfire smoke

Wildfires in Canada’s Northwest Territories: What You Need to Know

Big wildfires are happening in Canada’s Northwest Territories, especially around Yellowknife, its capital. This has caused a lot of problems and a need for people to leave their homes for safety.

A wildfire engulfs the Chetamon region in the Canadian Rocky Mountains
A wildfire engulfs the Chetamon region in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Evacuations from Yellowknife:
Yellowknife has about 20,000 people, and many are now having to leave because of the fires and bad air quality. Some of the fires are huge; one of them is as big as 600 square miles. People are leaving both by road and air.

What’s Happening:
The Northwest Territories has never seen something like this before. It’s because of a mix of dry weather and strong winds. The leader of the area, Premier Caroline Cochrane, said that this situation is really unusual.

Wildfire Service Helicopter flying over BC Forest Fire and Smoke on the mountain near Hope

Who Needs to Leave:
People living in places like the Ingraham Trail, Dettah, Kam Lake, Grace Lake, and Engle Business District need to go now. Others have until August 18, 2023, to get out. If they can’t drive, there are planes to help them leave.

Leaving Isn’t Easy:
The roads out of Yellowknife are tough right now because of all the smoke. One person, Nadia Byrne, said she drove through smoke so thick she couldn’t see the road and had trouble breathing, even with a mask.

Plumes of smoke from a wildfire blow over a highway.
Plumes of smoke from a wildfire blow over a highway

How the Government is Helping:
Local leaders and bigger government offices are working together to help out. They’ve declared emergencies, which lets them use more resources to help. The mayor of Yellowknife also said there’s an emergency because the fires are so close.

More on the Fires:
The next few days could be the toughest yet. British Columbia, a neighboring area, also has fires. Hot weather and winds are making the fires even worse.

BC Forest Fire and Smoke over the mountain near Hope

Help from Other Countries:
Canada is getting help from its own military and from other countries to fight the fires.

Support from Leaders:
Canada’s top leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said he will make sure the Northwest Territories gets what it needs to handle the fires.

Forest fire smoke filled pine trees
Forest fire smoke filled pine trees

Bottom Line:
Big fires are causing problems in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Lots of people have to leave their homes. Everyone is working together to stay safe and stop the fires. It’s a big challenge, but people are determined to face it together.

FAQ Section: Wildfires in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Q1: Where is the biggest wildfire happening right now?
A1: The biggest fire is near Yellowknife, covering about 600 square miles.

Q2: How many people are affected in Yellowknife?
A2: About 20,000 residents are affected, and many are evacuating due to the fires and worsening air quality.

Q3: Why are these fires considered unprecedented?
A3: Dry weather and strong winds have created conditions that the Northwest Territories haven’t seen before. The current situation is extremely unusual, as described by Premier Caroline Cochrane.

Q4: Who should evacuate immediately?
A4: Residents in the Ingraham Trail, Dettah, Kam Lake, Grace Lake, and Engle Business District should leave right away.

Q5: Is the government providing any assistance for evacuation?
A5: Yes, the government is facilitating road and air evacuations for those in need. They’ve also declared emergencies to allocate more resources.

Q6: What challenges are evacuees facing on the roads?
A6: Thick smoke has made visibility poor, and in some cases, people can’t even see the road lines. Breathing is also challenging due to smoke.

Q7: Are other areas, besides the Northwest Territories, affected by wildfires?
A7: Yes, neighboring British Columbia is also dealing with its own wildfire crisis.

Q8: Is international help being provided?
A8: Canadian Armed Forces are on the scene, and there’s also support from international allies to tackle the crisis.

Q9: How has Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to the situation?
A9: He has committed to ensuring that the Northwest Territories will get the resources they need to combat the fires.

Q10: How long are the challenging conditions expected to last?
A10: The next 24 to 48 hours are predicted to be the most challenging in terms of firefighting efforts due to weather conditions and fire behavior.

Sources CNN