NWT Emergency Response Update – August 30, 2023 5:30 PM

Press Release

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 extended the 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.

Update on Yellowknife Re-entry and Essential Workers’ Return

High winds are anticipated to accelerate fires along Highway 1 from Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 3. Highway 1 is currently open to essential travel but subject to closure without warning as visibility is poor.  Due to the severe weather event, it is anticipated that Highway 1 will close to all traffic from Friday, September 1, to Sunday, September 3.

Based on these conditions, the Emergency Management Organization has directed that repatriation of essential workers, except healthcare-related staff identified through the Department of Health and Social Services and Health and Social Services Authorities, will be paused effective immediately.

Despite the closure of the highway, the repatriation of essential health staff (by air) will continue during this time. This is important to allow time for safe resumption of services. This pause in phase 3 of the re-entry process is driven by the need to prioritize the safety of responders and essential staff working hard to prepare Yellowknife to welcome evacuees home.

The fire outside Yellowknife continues to be held. The fire risk to the community itself is decreased. This pause in the return of essential personnel is directly related to the risks associated with returning by road.

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

Information about which NWT communities are currently under an evacuation order can be found here: Notices, Alerts, and Orders

Information about Evacuee Reception Centre locations can be found here: Evacuee Reception Centres

Wildfire Status

Follow NWT Fire for updates on wildfire:

Highways and Airports

WARNING – High winds are anticipated to accelerate fires toward and along Hwy 1 Friday to Sunday.

Hwy 1 is currently open to essential travel but subject to closure without warning as visibility is poor. Due to the severe weather event, it is anticipated that Hwy 1 will close to all traffic Friday, Sept. 1 – Sunday, Sept. 3.

Travel is highly discouraged during this time.

Residents should be aware that conditions can change quickly with little to no warning. Highway staff are monitoring the situation closely.

Highway 2, 5 and 6 remain CLOSED; however, first responders, trucks carrying fuel and groceries may be granted access based on highway conditions.

Highway 3 remains OPEN – to southbound traffic. Closed to northbound passenger traffic from Behchokǫ̀ to Yellowknife.

Essential traffic – such as first responders, trucks carrying fuel and groceries – will be allowed to travel northbound into Yellowknife only when Hwy 1 is open.

Do not call NWT Fire for highway updates. Please check the NWT Highway Conditions Map for the latest updates: https://www.dot.gov.nt.ca/Highways


Applications for the Evacuation Travel Support Program are now open and available online.

We are aware of rumours online that GNWT websites—particularly the new funding application portal—have been compromised. The GNWT System or the application portal have not been compromised.  We ask all residents not to spread unverified rumours concerning GNWT websites. Spreading unverified rumours may discourage others who need financial support from applying. We monitor our online systems for suspicious behaviour and would shut down these systems if any suspicious activity is identified.

The Evacuation Travel Support Program will provide financial relief to NWT residents who evacuated by vehicle due to the wildfires: $750 per vehicle evacuated to a southern jurisdiction or $400 per vehicle evacuated within the NWT.

Residents can apply here: https://www.fin.gov.nt.ca/en/services/evacuation-travel-support-program

If you left your home community by road but must return by air, you may be eligible for organized re-entry flights paid for by the GNWT. As re-entry planning progresses, more details on registering for these flights will be provided.

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 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/#/


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