What is the location of the wildfires?
Numerous wildfires are burning in the Northwest Territories in Canada as of August 17, 2023 (1)(2)(3). Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, and surrounding communities are under immediate threat from the wildfires.
Yellowknife is located in the northern part of Canada and is the capital of the Northwest Territories.
Which cities or areas are affected by the wildfire?
- Yellowknife: The capital of the Northwest Territories, with a population of about 20,000 residents, is directly impacted by the wildfires. The city is under an evacuation order, and residents have been given until noon Friday to leave (4).
- Hay River: Another community affected by the wildfires, where evacuation orders have been issued due to the proximity of the fire. The fire had moved quickly, threatening the community.
- Surrounding Communities: The evacuation order also includes neighboring First Nations communities like Ndılǫ, Dettah, and Ingraham Trail.
- Enterprise: A smaller community that has been severely impacted, with 90% of it being destroyed by a wildfire. Residents were evacuated.
What is the current containment status of the wildfire?
The fires are within 16 kilometers (10 miles) of Yellowknife as of Thursday morning, and efforts were being made to prevent its progression towards the city.
Mike Westwick, the territory's fire information officer, has noted that efforts are being made to slow the growth and prevent the fire from reaching Yellowknife.
Are there any evacuation orders or alerts in place?
An evacuation order has been issued for Yellowknife, Ndılǫ, Dettah, and Ingraham Trail due to the approaching wildfires. The evacuation is being conducted based on risk, with specific areas at higher risk instructed to evacuate as soon as possible. Other residents had until noon Friday, August 18, 2023, to evacuate.
Residents are provided with multiple options for evacuation.
- Vehicle Evacuation: Residents who have vehicles and for whom driving is safe have been encouraged to evacuate immediately.
- Air Evacuation: Airlift operations have been organized for those who cannot leave by road. Only residents without the road evacuation option are encouraged to register for evacuation flights.
- Sheltering in Place: Sheltering in place is not being recommended unless there is no other option. The Multiplex is available as a sheltering option, and registration can be done online as well.
- Boat Evacuation: Evacuating by boat to an island or cabin on Great Slave Lake is also not recommended due to the expected decline in air quality.
Residents are being urged to follow the directions of emergency personnel and officials.
Protect yourself from wildfire smoke
See how a wildfire smoke air purifier can help clean your air.
How can I protect myself from wildfire smoke?
Always plan ahead to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.
- Get a free air quality app for real-time air quality alerts and forecasts.
- Shut doors and windows and set the HVAC to recirculate mode.
- Run a high-performance air purifier to filter wildfire smoke.
- Contribute to your community’s outdoor air quality data.
- Stay indoors; if you do need to go outdoors, wear a KN95/FFP2 mask.