$0.00 0 items

No products in the cart.

NWT wildfires push evacuees to Alberta

August 24, 2023

By: Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative

Wildfire evacuees from the Northwest Territories began coming from Hay River to Grande Prairie last week. 

The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP) was activated on Aug. 14 to accommodate incoming evacuees. 

Evacuees from the Northwest Territories South Slave region were coming to the city to register and be given accommodations but have since been directed to proceed to the Leduc Reception Centre if they have not yet registered.

Meals have been made available for evacuees at the Holiday Inn and Grande Prairie Friendship Centre (GPFC).

The friendship centre is also accepting donations for evacuees as it says many have come in a hurry. 

“Please consider donating new and unused items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, tampons, pads, sanitizers, nail clippers, hairbrushes, razors, etc. 

“If you need it in your home, evacuees need it in their accommodations as well,” reads a social media post from the centre. 

Other items, such as new underwear, socks, baby supplies and diapers, an updated list of what is needed can be found on their Facebook page. 

“For one family, while they were being transported from their evacuated home, the mother went into labour and was flown to Edmonton,” said the friendship centre. 

“The father came here to Grande Prairie with the other children. 

“When he came to us at the centre, he told us they had nothing when he came. No clothes, no diapers, no formula, nothing; this is not the only story like this.” 

The Hay River evacuation order came on Aug. 13, and soon after, an evacuation order was given for Yellowknife on Aug. 16; the city of 20,000 was expected to be fully evacuated by Aug. 18 at noon. 

Valleyview, Fox Creek, Lac La Biche and Red Deer have set up reception centres for evacuees from Yellowknife.

Reception centres for the evacuees continue to fill across the province as more people flee the fires of the north. 

The friendship centre continues to assist evacuees in the Grande Prairie region with food supplies, and Alberta Health Services has set up a Health Hub at the centre, which will “provide health support for evacuees including mental health, addictions and public health,” says GPREP in a media release.  

The province says up-to-date information for evacuees is available at alberta.ca/northwest-territories-wildfire-evacuation. 

Mayor Jackie Clayton released a statement Friday Morning noting the city has fresh memories of recent wildfire activity in the area.

“This time, our partnership joins similar responses being led by the Province of Alberta and multiple cities, including Calgary and Edmonton, in supplying staff and resources to aid evacuated residents from the Northwest Territories,” she said.

“Together, we are committed to offering our northern neighbours support, services, information and solace as they navigate through this challenging season of fires.” 

A wildfire firefighters helmet waits at the Dunes West Wildfire in the County of Grande Prairie, Alta. on Friday, May 12, 2023. (File photo by Jesse Boily)