The inhabitants of Yellowknife, one of the main cities of the Great Canadian North (a name that includes the Nordic territories of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut) have been ordered to evacuate before noon on Friday as a result of the rapid advance of the fire in the surrounding forests. "Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse," said Shane Thompson, environment minister for the Northwest Territories, who gave the order to evacuate the 20,000 inhabitants of this city. "It represents a real threat to the city," warned the minister. This Thursday the flames were very close, less than 17 kilometers from the city. More than 168,000 people have had to be evacuated from Canada since the start of the wildfire season, which currently has 230 active fires and breaks all records for accidents in the Northwest Territories.
Separated by hundreds of kilometers, the region's cities are "particularly difficult" to evacuate by land, Mike Westwick of the forest fire service explained this week, adding that a contingent of the Canadian army had been deployed to facilitate air evacuations. .
Faced with such logistical tasks due to the time and complications involved, the Canadian government has urged the inhabitants of the areas that may be most in danger to leave as soon as possible, while those who cannot evacuate the city by car should contact the authorities to leave by plane starting this Thursday, reports the public television channel CBC.
"The window of opportunity right now allows us to evacuate everyone safely," Thompson has emphasized, who has made no secret that this may not be the case in the coming days. The minister has indicated that safety on the motorway is guaranteed and that the emergency services will be pending in the areas that may be most affected by smoke.
Canada has been experiencing one of its worst waves of fires for weeks, with more than a thousand active fires. The authorities estimate the number of burned hectares to date at more than 13 million, a figure without historical precedent.