NWT Emergency Response Update - August 25, 2023 6:30 PM

News Releases

Residents and evacuees can call 811 in the territory and 1-844-259-1793 out of territory to ask questions about evacuation

Current Status

Territorial State of Emergency

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has declared a Territorial State of Emergency.

This allows the GNWT to acquire and deploy the necessary resources to support emergency management and protect the health and safety of Northwest Territories residents. 

This measure has ensured that the Emergency Management Organization (EMO) is better equipped to support the GNWT, community governments, and public agencies involved in emergency management plans and programs under the Emergency Management Act.

Hay River - Evacuation Order

There is an active fire threat in the community of Hay River.

All persons, including essential workers, in the Hay River area need to go to the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport and await further instructions.

Anyone who remains in Hay River is doing so at their own risk. There will be no emergency services or response available. 

Do not return to evacuated communities

Please don't return to evacuated communities; it is not safe to return. We know being away from home is stressful and frustrating, but the safety of Northwest Territories residents is our number one priority. By attempting to return to an evacuated area, you put yourself and firefighters at risk while negatively impacting firefighting efforts.

Evacuation Flights from Yellowknife

Flights for evacuees and essential workers depart regularly from Yellowknife.

If you're an evacuee, please register for a flight by calling 867-444-0115. You'll be notified of your flight's departure time. Once it's confirmed, arrive at Sir John Franklin High School 3 hours before that time to check in. From there, buses will take passengers to the airport for their flights.

If you are a first responder or essential worker, email NWTEMO_Logistics@gov.nt.ca to register for a flight. Then, follow the instructions provided to you by email. 

Update on Alberta Evacuation Centres & Accommodations

Some evacuees staying in accommodations arranged by Alberta Registration Centres' may be asked to relocate or change hotels. While we know it's challenging to leave a hotel you've settled into, some hotels have prior reservations they must honour. If you're affected, please check in with an evacuation centre that has capacity to get assistance finding different accommodations.

If you have been paying for your accommodations and can no longer do so, please go to an evacuation centre that has capacity for assistance in finding accommodations. Refunds for previous accommodations will not be provided, but alternate accommodations can be arranged.

A list of Alberta evacuation centres that have capacity for new evacuees can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/northwest-territories-wildfire-evacuation

Wildfire Status

Follow NWT Fire for updates on wildfire:

Highways and Airports

The Highway Conditions Map and Highway Conditions Webpage remains the most up-to-date source for NWT highway status.


There are currently staffed checkstops at:

  • the junction of Highway 1 and Highway 2
  • Highway 3 at km 272 – between Behchoko and Yellowknife

Highway 3 between Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ remains open southbound.

Due to the evacuation order in Yellowknife, Highway 3 is currently closed to passenger traffic heading northbound into Yellowknife except for essential and emergency services.

Anyone approaching a staffed checkstop will be asked for identification. If they are not identified as essential workers for the firefighting effort and emergency response in those communities, they will not be allowed to pass through the checkstop. 

Residents of Fort Resolution who approach the checkstop at the junction of Highway 1 and 2 asking to travel back to the community are being asked for identification showing a home address in Fort Resolution. If they have that identification, they are allowed past the checkstop to return to that community.

Please follow the instructions of staff at the checkstops. They have an important job to do to keep our communities and residents safe. Those who refuse to follow their instructions will be immediately reported to the RCMP.


The GNWT has announced funding for residents who self-evacuated by road as well as for small businesses affected by evacuation orders in the territory.

The Evacuation Travel Support Program is available to NWT residents who, by order, evacuated their home community because of the 2023 wildfires. Eligible individuals who evacuated by vehicle will be provided with a one-time direct deposit as follows:

  • $750 per vehicle evacuated to a southern jurisdiction; or

  • $400 per vehicle evacuated within the NWT

Evacuees who left by road but need to return by air will be eligible to register for organized re-entry flights paid for by the GNWT. Details on how to register will come at a later date as re-entry planning progresses.

In addition to this funding for residents, the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy has been expanded to allow for contributions of up to $5,000 to offset operational costs incurred by wildfire-affected businesses. Applications for costs incurred from May 2023 onward will be accepted and must be supported by receipts or equivalent proof.

Businesses that have already received funding for wildfire relief under the SEED Policy can receive up to the $5,000 funding limit if they can continue to meet the program criteria required.  These supports are temporary additions to SEED and will be accessible until March 31, 2024.

For more information please see the News Release here.

Health Services Updates

With evacuations and impacts from wildfires in the NWT, access to care and services will be different than normal. A Questions and Answers webpage about has been developed for evacuees and can be found here.

If you are outside of the NWT and have lost or are missing your NWT health care card, more information can be found by clicking here.

You can also call NWT 811 for both health information and general information on evacuation supports. In the NWT dial 811, outside the NWT dial 1-844-259-1793.

Education, Culture, and Employment

School calendars:

At this time, it’s unclear how long it will be before students and staff can return to school and it’s too early for education bodies to determine any potential impacts to the school calendar.  

For communities that are not under evacuation orders, please follow the guidance of local education bodies, as some may be facing delays.

Each community’s situation is unique, so it will be up to each education body to decide when school will start. However, once it is safe to return to your communities, education bodies will give plenty of notice (at least a week) before the start of school. In addition, every family’s circumstances are unique, so we understand that some families may need more time to settle in before sending their child(ren) to school.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is working with Superintendents to publish a Questions and Answers document early next week to provide information, and will update as new information becomes available.

Student Financial Assistance

The Student Financial Assistance program continues to work remotely in ensuring all payments are being processed for eligible students. Students may be asked to provide documents again since staff do not have access to files. Please contact nwtsfa@gov.nt.ca if you have any questions.

Travel for Students who are Impacted by the Evacuation Orders

Students residing in communities that typically fly through Yellowknife or other evacuated communities, remain eligible for travel benefits provided they qualify for the Basic Grant.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is working with EMO to ensure students can leave the territory to attend post-secondary studies outside of the NWT.

Loan Repayment Obligations

Student Financial Assistance understands the financial hardship being evacuated from your home community has on students. Students from evacuated communities who are currently repaying their student loans and experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to contact their Finance Officer to discuss options, such as reducing their payment or cancelling their payment for September 2023.

If students do not notify their Finance Officer, payments will continue to be debited from their account.

Industry, Tourism & Investment

Supply Chain/Food Security

The GNWT has established a working group to address issues related to community supply chains and food security. The GNWT has established a direct networking line with Indigenous Governments and communities to identify urgent needs as they arise in communities and to provide additional support. Industry members have stepped up to ensure that communities are receiving shipments.

The GNWT is communicating with federal organizations to address issues like offsetting costs to businesses so that increased costs do not fall on community residents. The focus at this time is on communities facing significant supply issues.

The GNWT is aware that other communities may be experiencing impacted supply chains but are not in critical need of supplies at this time. The GNWT will continue to monitor and communicate on the status of these communities as circumstances develop. The GNWT is in communications with local food suppliers who use Yellowknife as a transport Hub.

Local food suppliers confirmed that they are adapting to changes in the food distribution network caused by evacuations in hub communities like Yellowknife. Logistics staff from food suppliers are working closely with airline partners to deliver food supplies to communities directly from Edmonton. At this time, food suppliers do not believe any communities have missed out on food shipments, although recognize not all supplies have been received. Food suppliers are seeking ways to reduce or subsidize freight costs. The GNWT will work with food suppliers and other partners to reduce potential added costs associated with greater shipping distances.


Monetary donations are being accepted by United Way NWT.

Be Ready for Wildfires

Get your Emergency Kit and essentials packed and ready. 

More Information

Evacuee Registration Portal

The Evacuee Registration Portal is for NWT residents who need to evacuate—or be prepared to evacuate—due to an emergency or disaster. All residents who have been evacuated are asked to register themselves in the portal, even if you have also registered at an evacuation centre.

NWT Wildfires Safety Check

A public Facebook group is available to mark yourself safe from the 2023 wildfires in the NWT.

If you need to report a missing person, contact the RCMP at 867-669-1111.

 NWT Alert

Follow the latest emergency alerts here: https://nwtalert.ca/#/