Canada: Massive Wildfire Threatens Capital of Northwest Territories, Thousands Forced to Evacuate


A massive wildfire in northern Canada is approaching the capital of the Northwest Territories and could reach Yellowknife’s outskirts by the weekend if rains doesn’t come. 

This year, Canada is facing its worst wildfire season ever, with over 1,000 active fires, including 230 in the Northwest Territories. Thousands have evacuated from remote communities, and the hamlet of Enterprise near Alberta was almost entirely destroyed by a recent blaze, a Reuter report cited

Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane urged people to remain calm and cautioned that highways could close suddenly because of the fire risk.

“I’ve never seen so many vehicles leaving town,” Cochrane said. “There’s all kinds of rumors out there, but be ready and evacuate if necessary. Be calm. Do not panic.”

The 163,000 hectare (402,781 acres) wildfire is currently 17 kilometres from Yellowknife and would likely reach Highway 3, the only highway connecting the city to the rest of Canada, as per NWT Fire, as quoted by Reuters

“There is risk to the City of Yellowknife. Our team, alongside the City of Yellowknife, are doing everything possible to slow the growth of this fire and protect the community,” NWT Fire said.

Yellowknife has a population of around 20,000 people and lies 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of the Arctic circle.

The Northwest Territories declared a state of emergency to address wildfires earlier this week and Canadian military has been mobilized to help tackle the blazes and airlift some residents to safety. 

Cochrane communicated with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who reiterated federal commitment to support.

Heat wave in Western Canada

Western Canada is enduring a heat wave that saw 19 daily heat records broken on Tuesday and is fuelling hundreds of out-of-control wildfires.

In the Pacific province of British Columbia around 80 people were forced to shelter in place in a mountain guesthouse after their only way out was cut off by a rapidly expanding blaze.

Source : Mint