The capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, has been told to evacuate its 20,000 residents as a large wildfire in the country’s north approaches, according to the territorial government.
With more than 1,000 active fires blazing throughout the nation, including 230 in the Northwest Territories, Canada is experiencing its worst-ever wildfire season.
According to local media outlet Cabin Radio, Yellowknife’s mayor Rebecca Alty stated on Wednesday that authorities believed the wildfire’s development would give time for residents to leave on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to Alty, according to Cabin Radio, “the city is not in immediate danger and there is a safe window for residents to leave by road or air.”
“Flights will begin on Thursday in the afternoon. Check with your friends and relatives to see if they have a ride if you have ground transportation, he wrote on the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
At a press conference, Shane Thompson, the environment minister for the Northwest Territories, stated that the “wildfire situation has taken another turn for the worst.”
He issued an order for the city’s almost 20,000 residents to leave by Friday noon by vehicle or air, stating that a fire blazing west of Yellowknife now posed a serious threat to the city.
Smaller villages in the thinly populated northwest territory have been forced to evacuate thousands of people, and a Sunday morning fire nearly completely destroyed the hamlet of Enterprise near the Alberta border.
Earlier on Wednesday, Caroline Cochrane, premier of the Northwest Territories, claimed that some Yellowknife residents were preparing to leave.
Cochrane remarked, “I’ve never seen so many cars leaving town. There are many different rumors floating around, so stay alert and prepare to flee if necessary. Remain composed. Don’t freak out. Around 20,000 people call Yellowknife home. It is located 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.
The 163,000-hectare (402,781-acre) wildfire, according to NWT Fire, is presently 17 kilometers (about 10 miles) from Yellowknife and is anticipated to get to Highway 3, the only road that connects the city to the rest of Canada, on Thursday.
A few locations near the roadway have already received an evacuation order.
The city of Yellowknife is under danger. The city of Yellowknife and our crew are doing every effort to contain this fire and safeguard the neighborhood, according to NWT Fire.
The Canadian military has been activated to assist in putting out the fires and airlifting some inhabitants to safety after the Northwest Territories issued a state of emergency late on Tuesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Cochrane met with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, about the wildfire situation. According to a transcript of their call, Trudeau emphasized the federal government’s continuous commitment to aid the territory.
A heat wave is affecting Western Canada, breaking 19 daily heat records on Tuesday and igniting hundreds of out-of-control wildfires.
This year, blazes have affected portions of virtually all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, causing the evacuation of residents, halting the production of oil and gas, and requiring both federal and international firefighting resources.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA