The break that firefighters defending the capital of the Northwest Territories got at the start of the weekend due to rainy weather is expected to end today, as temperatures are forecast to climb into the 20s.

Wildfire information officer Mike Westwick told a news conference Saturday night that the “fire’s taken a nap” and it’s “going to wake up” as temperatures rise today.

The blaze, which prompted the evacuation of almost all 20,000 residents Yellowknife, remained about 15 kilometres from the community yesterday.

Health Minister Julie Green told the news conference the ramp down of services at the city’s hospital is complete, with the emergency department remaining open for firefighters and other essential workers.

Sadly, Green says one patient died during preparations for transport out of the city, which she says was “an expected death” although she wouldn’t provide details, citing confidentiality.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Shane Thompson says that over the last week, 68 per cent of the territory’s population has been evacuated due to fires.

Seven other N.W.T. communities were also under evacuation orders, forcing thousands more people out of their homes.

Many evacuees have travelled to different areas of Alberta and up to 3,000 were being flown to Manitoba.

No date has been set for anyone to return.

The Canadian Press

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