Authorities in the region are in a race against time as they organize a mass evacuation in Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. They issued an evacuation order Wednesday night, giving residents until noon Friday to leave the area in danger of a relentlessly advancing wildfire.
About 1,500 residents have already left the area by air, while hundreds more have fled via the only highway that connects northern communities with neighboring Alberta to the south. To ensure everyone’s safety, twice as many flights were arranged on Friday compared to the day before, and authorities have ensured that the flights will continue even beyond the original deadline.
Jennifer Young of the Northwest Territories Emergency Services told a news conference that the goal is to evacuate all Yellowknife residents. However, this mass evacuation in a remote region presents unique challenges, according to Mike Westwick of the regional fire department.
The fire, which is located about 15 kilometers from the urban area of Yellowknife, poses an imminent threat, especially due to unfavorable winds that hinder the efforts of firefighters. Authorities warn that the fire could reach the city over the weekend, underscoring the urgency of the evacuation.
With the closest evacuation center 1,150 kilometers away in Alberta, the logistics of this operation are challenging. However, the authorities are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the residents and provide them with shelter in shelters built in Alberta.
This evacuation in Yellowknife highlights the importance of effective preparedness and response to natural disasters, as well as solidarity and cooperation in times of crisis.