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NWT Wildfires: Yellowknife to review Emergency Response, says Mayor Rebecca Alty

A review of the Yellowknife evacuation will be conducted by a third party.
Yellowknife City Council will begin the review process of the city’s Emergency Response to the wildfires on Monday, Sept. 25, says Mayor Rebecca Alty. NNSL file photo

A review of the Yellowknife evacuation will be conducted by a third party.

Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty announced the review during a press conference Thursday evening.

“The review completed by third party at the end of an emergency response is necessary to identify best practices, gaps and lessons learned,” she said. “We’ll discuss the review at our first council meeting back currently scheduled for noon on Monday, Sept. 25.”

On Aug. 16, Yellowknifers were told to evacuate the city by 12 p.m., Aug. 18. More than 20,000 people left the territory, either by air or driving.

On Sept. 1, the city announced a re-entry plan on its social media feed.

Essential workers were asked to return to Yellowknife by Sept. 5, and regular citizens were asked to begin returning on Sept. 6 at 12 p.m. The city then announced the road block set up at kilometre 274 on Highway 3 would open up to returning evacuees at 11 a.m.

Yellowknife remains under an evacuation alert, meaning people should be prepared to leave again on short notice.

So far, 268 people have returned to Yellowknife by air and 676 vehicles have crossed the Deh Cho Bridge in Fort Providence.

Unhoused Yellowknifers were flown out largely by flight, with Premier Caroline Cochrane spending all of Aug. 19 driving around Yellowknife to spread the word among the population. She said she’s urging people she knows to spread the word people in Edmonton and Calgary can catch a flight home if they pre-registered by Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.

Executive and Indigenous Affairs assistant deputy minister Robert Tordiff said during the press conference that the GNWT did not take demographic data of evacuees as they were flown out. He said the GNWT was putting boots on the ground to reach out to people who may have fallen through the cracks.

Officials estimate that most of Yellowknife’s unhoused people had been evacuated.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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