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19,000 and counting evacuated from Yellowknife since order issued

More than 19,000 people have evacuated from the City of Yellowknife since an evacuation issue was ordered on Wednesday.

On Friday evening, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Shane Thompson says as of last count, 15,000 residents have left by road, with another 3,800 leaving via evacuation flights. Thompson says a total of 5,000 vehicles left on August 17th alone.

Thompson says the wildfires, and impact on communities is a heartbreaking chapter in the history of the territories, but he is firm in his believe that everyone will endure. He adds those who have decided against evacuation and are looking to shelter in place should rethink that strategy.

The Multiplex has closed as an evacuation centre as of 5 p.m. Friday. The GNWT says the decision was made due to low intake. Officials say the number of evacuees using the facility were dwindling throughout Friday. 

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“If you’re still in Yellowknife and you’re not essential to the emergency response, please evacuate.” Thompson adds it is a real possibility that the highway or airport could be compromised if the wildfire continues to grow, and safe travel is currently available and should be a priority for everyone.”

The wildfire northwest of Yellowknife remains approximately 15 kilometres from the boundary of the municipality, and fire crews got some help from mother nature on Friday.

ECC Wildfire Information Officer Mike Westwick says cooler temperatures and low winds helped put a damper on fire activity for much of the day, however, none of the forecasted rain hit the ground.


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