Out-of-Territory Support for NWT Wildfire Response

Media Statement

Yellowknife — June 2, 2023

Premier Caroline Cochrane and Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs and Environment and Climate Change Shane Thompson issued the following statement today regarding out-of-territory support for the 2023 NWT wildfire season:

“It has been truly humbling to see our neighbours from across the country step up to assist NWT residents who have been impacted by wildfires over the past month. 

“On May 18, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced its commitment to supporting wildfire evacuees from Hay River and K'atl’odeeche First Nation through a donation matching program with the United Way NWT. Our government is matching donations up to $150,000, providing critical assistance to those affected by these ongoing community evacuations.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his government will also be matching donations to the United Way NWT. The Governments of the Yukon and Nunavut also announced generous donations of $25,000 each on May 17.

“To maximize our ability to fight wildland fires, our government has also signed a five-year agreement exceeding $28 million with Natural Resources Canada, under their new Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate Program Equipment Fund.

“This fund, which allows provinces and territories to cost-share investments for equipment such as vehicles, enhanced communications gear, and repairs to aging equipment, will be used for the purchase of aircraft, vehicles, dispatch consoles, and dust suppressant. Salaries and benefits, contracted services, and training are also eligible expenditures.

“This funding directly enables our government to procure specialized firefighting equipment and strengthen our capacity to manage wildfires that present a threat to NWT communities.

“Our agreement carries through to March 31, 2027, with $6.4 million in projects identified for this fiscal year.

“Not unlike other jurisdictions in Canada, the Northwest Territories has seen an unprecedented early start to our wildfire season, forcing us to mobilize crews and equipment faster and earlier than ever.

“In May alone, three NWT communities – Hay River, the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, and Sambaa K’e – had to evacuate due to nearby wildfires that posed a risk to residents and critical infrastructure, and the outlook for the remainder of the NWT wildfire season is extreme.

“Our government truly appreciates our neighbour’s efforts to support us during such a challenging time – a reality that, unfortunately, other provinces and territories are also experiencing.

“We want to give the GNWT’s heartfelt thanks to the Prime Minister and to the Government of Canada for their generosity in this time of need. We also want to thank Premier Pillai and Premier Akeeagok, as well as Northwest Territories residents and businesses for rallying to offer unprecedented support.”


Media Requests, please contact:

Cabinet Communications

Government of the Northwest Territories