As Yellowknife gears up for residents to begin their return, fire crews are still grappling with the daunting task of keeping the flames under control. A fire in Hay River came dangerously close to the town’s hospital, but the determined efforts of the fire crews successfully pushed back the fire, ensuring the safety of the area.
The firefighting teams relied heavily on air support, utilizing helicopters and airtankers to drop water on the fire. Although the fires nearest to Yellowknife are currently “being held,” firefighters continue to make steady progress in containing the fire, working to extinguish hotspots and securing the perimeter.
While there is no specific timeline for when residents in the affected areas, including Hay River and Fort Smith, will be able to return home, officials announced that residents of Yellowknife may be able to return as early as September 6th.
Approximately 300 firefighters are still working diligently to keep the fires in check. The Emergency Measures Office has made arrangements for flights, road access, and transportation from airports. However, returning residents should be prepared for limited services initially. It is crucial to exercise caution while traveling, as there may be equipment and personnel working along the roads.
Residents have been advised to start preparing for their journey back home, ensuring that they have an adequate supply of food, prescriptions, and cash to be self-reliant for 72 hours upon their return. Those arriving by plane can register through the territory’s public safety web page to secure return flights and provide officials with an estimate of the number of flights needed.
Officials have emphasized that driving to the border should be avoided until September 6th since there are no resources available for those intending to wait in the north until the roads are opened.
Weather conditions are gradually improving, with cooler temperatures replacing the previous days of high temperatures in the late 20s and early 30s. As of Sunday afternoon, no heat warnings were in effect for any regions of the Northwest Territories. However, caution is still advised as meteorologists have warned that vigilance is required due to the weather.
The firefighting efforts in the Northwest Territories will continue for an extended period, given the unprecedented late fire season and the level of activity. Firefighters remain committed to their arduous work and ensuring the safety of affected areas.