NWT Emergency Response Update - August 28, 2023 6:00 PM

Public Safety Bulletin

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.

Re-Entry Planning and Returning Home

Do not return to evacuated communities

Today, NWT Fire announced that Behchoko/Yellowknife Fire (ZF015) is 'being held'. This is good news. But as NWT Fire says, 'being held' does not mean the fire is under control. There are also other nearby fires that are still out of control. It remains unsafe to return to evacuated NWT communities.

Residents are advised not to return to evacuated areas, as they remain unsafe. Details on when and how to safely return will be provided soon. Today the GNWT has published our Road To Re-Entry Framework that will help community governments plan for the return of residents to their communities. Each community will have a unique plan crafted by its local government and tailored to meet individual community needs. The GNWT is actively supporting community governments in this process.

The Road To Re-Entry Framework describes a phased approach to re-entry that sees essential services personnel returning home first to ensure that communities are ready to welcome everyone else.

As plans come together, the GNWT and your community government will share as much as we can when we can. But we’re not there yet.  First and foremost, we must focus on our communities and first responders' health and safety and on holding these wildfires.

Essential Personnel

Essential personnel are those directly working on the wildfire response or on a team dedicated to supporting them, so they can focus on response and recovery efforts.

This can include those who are:

  • in a public safety role like wildfire and municipal firefighters, policing;

  • operating critical infrastructure (telecommunications, municipal services like water treatment and wastewater, utilities, etc.);

  • providing food, lodging and basic needs that support the front line response;

  • relieving others from essential duties.

All essential personnel are designated and approved by community governments, local authorities or Government of the Northwest Territories departments.  These designations are then supported by the Territorial Emergency Management Organization through an established process.

If you want to apply for an essential designation, email: nwtemo_logistics@gov.nt.ca. Essential personnel will receive letters identifying them, making travel within the territory possible, including through highway checkpoints.


The latest updates from the Emergency Management Organization can be found here: Latest Updates

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.

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.

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.


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/#/