Wildfire update, Sept. 12 5:30 p.m.: Registration opens for South Slave return flights while Hay River delays announcing return dates

No dates have yet been set for these return flights.

(NWT Fire photo)

Pre-registration is now available for return flights to evacuated South Slave communities, while Hay River still has not announced return dates for its residents.

That’s according to updates shared by the GNWT and by the Town of Hay River on Tuesday.

Pre-registration for South Slave return flights opened at 8:00 a.m. this morning, and will stay open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. No dates have yet been set for these return flights. Residents can sign up for these flights here.

Nor have any dates been set for a return to Hay River: On Tuesday evening, after receiving a briefing from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Town declined to begin the first phase of re-entry. This would mean inviting essential workers back into the community.

But as the Town wrote in a social media post this morning, current fire conditions aren’t conducive to re-entry. Another update from the Town is expected at 8 p.m. this evening.

Near Hay River, Tuesday was expected to be yet another difficult day of firefighting, with hot and dry conditions in the forecast and winds from the west.

Fort Smith essential workers to return today

Further South, essential workers were scheduled to return to Fort Smith starting today.

Yesterday, the Town approved re-entry dates for its own residents: Essential services are scheduled to return to operation between now and Sunday, with members of the general public returning as early as next Monday.

These dates are all subject to change based on weather conditions.

YK Students heading back to school

Meanwhile in the North Slave, residents of evacuated communities continue to return home: Nearly 2,900 vehicles crossed the Deh Cho Bridge over the weekend, while over 1,500 evacuees flew home, according to Emergency Management Office Spokesperson Jay Boast.

Students with the YK1 School Board are also set to return to school this Thursday. In a letter to parents on Tuesday, the school board confirmed all 12 bus routes will be up and running, but that new bus passes have been delayed, and students can use their passes from last year for the first month.

“We expect that the startup will cause a bit of confusion, [and] we thank you for being patient with us and the system while we work to get things sorted over the next few weeks,” the letter reads.

About the Author

Ian Down
Ian Down is a general news reporter from the West Island of Montreal. After studying journalism and computer science at Concordia University, he came to Yellowknife in 2021, joining the CKLB team in September 2022. When not behind his desk, you can find him at a local Yellowknife poetry reading, or annoying his roommates by playing his clarinet at odd hours. Feel free to reach out with any tips or story ideas at ian.down@cklb.com, or follow him on Twitter at @IanDown1996.