Skip to content

Checkpoints to block return attempts, N.W.T. official warns wildfire evacuees

Emergency management has concerns about people attempting to return to Fort Smith

A spokeswoman for the Northwest Territories’ emergency management organization says there have been reports of people returning to Fort Smith, or planning to return there, despite the wildfire risk.

Jennifer Young says residents need to know they will be stopped at established checkpoints and asked to verify they are an essential worker of an evacuated community before being let through.

Flames are about four kilometres away from Fort Smith, a community of 2,500 along the Alberta boundary that has been evacuated for over a week.

Fire information officer Mike Westwick says the area hasn’t received rain like the small amount Yellowknife got over the last few days, and the fire is burning deep into the ground.

The fire near Yellowknife, whose 20,000 people were evacuated by road and air, remained about 15 kilometres from the city yesterday and Westwick says crews have been switching from a defensive mode to an attack mode against the flames.

The legislative assembly, meanwhile, is set to be recalled to consider a law delaying the upcoming territorial election scheduled for Oct. 3 due to the wildfire situation.

READ ALSO: National wildfire incident response group meets ahead of cabinet retreat

READ ALSO: Wildfire fight switches from defence to offence near Yellowknife