Wildfires prompt evacuations of capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories

Residents in the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories are being ordered to evacuate due to approaching wildfires.

Current Status: Residents in Yellowknife, a city of 20,000 people, have been ordered to evacuate as wildfires draw closer.
* People in the higher-risk areas were advised to leave as soon as possible, while residents in other areas have until Friday noon to evacuate.
* The environment minister for the Territories, Shane Thompson, assures that the city is not in immediate danger and there’s a safe window for residents to leave by road and air.

Potential Impact: The fire is burning about 10 miles outside the city and could reach the outskirts by the weekend if there’s no rainfall.
* Officials have stated that if smoke impairs visibility, those evacuating Yellowknife will be escorted through the active fire zone.

Existing Situation: Over 200 wildfires have already wreaked havoc in the Northwest Territories.
* Eight communities, housing nearly 6,800 people or 15% of the Northwest Territories’ population, have already been evacuated.
* Essential personnel from the Canadian Forces are assisting firefighters and facilitating the evacuation process.

In Broader Context: Canada has experienced a record number of wildfires this year.
* Fires have scorched more than 8,108 square miles of land so far.

View original article on NPR

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