Sask. government offers help to N.W.T as wildfires force evacuations

The Saskatchewan government has offered to assist the Northwest Territories amid a mass evacuation prompted by threatening wildfires. 

More than 22,000 people have been ordered to evacuate by Friday afternoon. The evacuation order includes people who live in the capital city of Yellowknife, as well as people living in Dettah, Ndilǫ and the Ingraham trail.

The territorial government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and announced the evacuation order on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, Premier Scott Moe said he spoke with N.W.T Premier Caroline Cochrane and offered assistance. In a statement released on social media, Moe said the province is prepared to provide temporary accommodation for people fleeing the region and to send firefighters there to assist with efforts on the ground. 

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) has deployed 40 firefighters, an Incident Management Team made up of five people and two agency representatives to the region, according to a government spokesperson. 

The crew is expected to be out of the province helping with the fires for about two weeks, although the government said the team could be called back to Saskatchewan if the provincial wildfire situation worsens.

There are also 16 wildland firefighters from Saskatchewan who are deployed to the Yukon to help local ground crews in their efforts to contain wildfires. 

This mass evacuation from N.W.T comes as the worst wildfire season in Canadian history continues to rage on, with more than 1,000 active fires burning across the country.

N.W.T Premier Cochrane called the situation unprecedented in a briefing on Wednesday. 

“There’s no other way to describe it,” she said. 

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