Yellowknife, one of Canada’s major northern cities, is facing a grave threat as authorities ordered its 20,000 residents to evacuate due to approaching wildfires.
The fire, located less than 10 miles away, poses a danger that could potentially reach the city outskirts by the weekend. This adds to the woes of Canada’s wildfire-ridden summer, with over 1,000 wildfires blazing across the country.
The crisis in Yellowknife reflects the broader wildfire emergency sweeping through Canada. The Northwest Territories alone are grappling with about 230 active fires, forming part of a torrid summer for the Northern Hemisphere.
Shane Thompson, the Northwest Territories’ environment minister, expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “Unfortunately, our wildfire situation has taken another turn for the worse with a fire burning west of Yellowknife now representing a real threat to the city.” He promptly ordered residents to leave the city by noon Friday, arranging commercial and military flights for evacuation.
As thick smoke engulfs the region, firefighters are working tirelessly to combat the blaze, even as they face challenges posed by strong winds. The crisis has forced towns and Indigenous communities to evacuate, and images shared on social media depict the region covered in a hazy orange hue.
This wildfire emergency is not isolated; Canada has witnessed a record-breaking number of wildfires this year. Over 1,000 active wildfires have scorched 8,108 square miles, displacing thousands and claiming lives.
As Canada’s firefighting resources are stretched thin, the evacuation of Yellowknife showcases the criticality of the situation. With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledging assistance, efforts to combat the fires and safeguard lives remain a top priority.