Wildfire update, Sept. 18 5:30 p.m.: General public begins return to Fort Smith

Essential workers returned to the community last week.

(Parks Canada photo)

After more than a month away from home, members of the general public are returning to Fort Smith today.

Essential workers returned to the community last week. But today is the first day the general public has been allowed back in.

An evacuation order for the town was first issued on Aug. 12.

Meanwhile, residents of Hay River have been allowed back in since Saturday. But not all services in that community are back up and running just yet: The pool, recreation centre and community centre are still being used by fire crews.

As South Slave residents return home, the territory’s Emergency Management Organization declared in an update on Friday that repatriation to the North Slave was complete. But it wasn’t immediately clear how many, if any, were still left outside of the territory.

Thirty-four charter flights in total carried 2,275 residents back home to the North Slave this month, not including essential workers, according to the same update. It was not immediately clear how many had returned by vehicle.

Meanwhile, fires continue to burn across the territory: Residents of Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation should expect to see ongoing fire activity on the east side of the river for the foreseeable future.

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.