Wildfire update, Sept. 13 6:00 p.m.: Essential workers to return to Hay River, although fire danger remains

Meanwhile, health services have not yet fully returned to Yellowknife.

(NWT Fire photo)

Hay River’s essential workers are scheduled to return to the community starting today after the Town triggered the first phase of its re-entry plan yesterday evening.

The Town announced the return of essential workers after a consultation with the Department of Environment and Climate change yesterday evening.

The general public should be allowed to return starting on Sunday.

But the fire danger hasn’t passed yet: Yesterday saw “extreme burning conditions,” according to NWT Fire, with multiple thick columns of smoke billowing up on the K’atl’odeeche First Nation reserve.

Council is scheduled to meet again on Friday to re-assess the fire risk.

Meanwhile, essential workers have been returning to Fort Smith since yesterday. If the fire risk holds, members of that community should be able to start returning next Monday.

Pre-registration for repatriation flights to Hay River, KFN, and Fort Smith is still open. Residents can sign up on the GNWT’s public safety page here. Registration closes tomorrow at 8:00 p.m.

A separate return plan will be devised for Enterprise at a later date, after that community was devastated by wildfire last month.

Highways 2, 5 and 6 are closed to the public as of this afternoon, while Highways 1, 3 and 7 remain open.

Also this week, federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Harjit Sajjan toured communities in the territory affected by wildfire. He announced on social media the federal government will be providing an extra $15 million for wildfire relief in the territory.

Some Stanton health services still unavailable

As Yellowknifers continue their return home, several Stanton Territorial Hospital services are still out of operation or at limited capacity one week after the lifting of the evacuation order.

As of this afternoon, obstetrics and extended care services remain closed. Only emergency surgical services are available this week, with bookings for elective surgeries starting next week. Most other Stanton services are at or near full capacity, as are other Yellowknife health and social services like home care and the Sobering Centre.

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.