Thousands of residents are fleeing the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Yellowknife, along with several other communities, is under siege as over 200 wildfires continue to engulf the region, creating hazardous conditions.
The fires are part of a widespread failure of the government to control any of the more than 1,000 fires blazing across Canada this summer, which is the worst fire season on record. Smoke has drifted into the United States at times, creating health conditions, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard earlier this summer.
Evacuation orders were made for Yellowknife, which is home to about 20,000. The advancing flames also threaten a major highway out of the city. Emergency flights are being organized to airlift those stranded by the fires.
All residents, including the families of essential workers, are required to evacuate by today, Aug. 18. The city closed its vacant multiplex as an evacuation center.
“Residents are either sheltering in place in homes, or they have been evacuated,” the territorial government stated. “If your sheltering situation changes, please go to Sir John School to register for an evacuation flight.”
The fires have reached the province of British Columbia, where West Kelowna has seen several homes lost. At 1 a.m. Friday, a state of emergency was declared in the City of Kelowna and residents in the surrounding areas were ordered to evacuate their homes as spot fires flared in the city, which is east of Vancouver, B.C.