Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked Friday whether federal authorities had failed the territories because of infrastructure gaps.

He said it was “part of the reflections” that would take place on the wildfires and their response.

“Within two days, they’d evacuated close to 20,000 people (from Yellowknife) in a very effective way and that’s, as you say, not a credit to great infrastructure,” Trudeau said at a firehall in the Okanagan in the British Columbia Interior, another area hit hard by wildfires in recent weeks.

Trudeau noted that the fire had not reached the NWT capital and acknowledged that “next time we might not be so lucky.”

“We’re going to need to learn from these near-misses,” he said.

However, Hay River and Fort Smith remain in grave danger.

Trudeau met with NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane in Edmonton on Saturday but the outcome of their discussions was not immediately communicated to the public or the media.

Cochrane was in Calgary on Friday and toured an evacuation centre for fellow Northerners. She told reporters in Calgary she was angry the wildfire-ravaged region doesn’t have the same services as the south, and she called on Canadians to pressure the federal government to act.

READ MORE: NWT wildfires: Homeless evacuees in Calgary advised to call ‘311’

Cochrane said she’s spent years calling for the federal government to help the territory develop roads and communication technologies needed to keep people safe as the territory sees more fires and other climate change impacts.

“I’m tired. I’ve been tired for a long time for asking for infrastructure,” Cochrane said. “And now I’m angry.”

—By Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press, with files from Dirk Meissner and Colette Derworiz

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  1. In other words nothing is going to happen. Canadians live in the north. In JT’s mind Canadians don’t count.