NWT Emergency Response Update – May 24, 2023 5:00pm

Press Release

May 24, 2023

Communities remain lead on response activities. Territorial and Regional Emergency Management Organizations are fully activated and providing resources for planning, coordination, and support to community emergency management operations.

Current status

Kátł’odeeche First Nation

An Evacuation order is still in effect for Kátł’odeeche First Nation due to a wildfire in the area. Follow the Kátł’odeeche First Nation Facebook page for regular updates. Active firefighting is ongoing and the community is severely impacted by the fire. It is not safe to return to Kátł’odeeche First Nation .

Hay River

The Town of Hay River has announced their re-entry plan. https://hayriver.com/2023-wildfire-updates/

Highway Information

  • Highway 2 has reopened north of the junction with Highway 5 to accommodate Hay River’s community re-entry plan, allowing essential staff to travel. Conditions could change quickly, be prepared for delays or sudden road closures.
  • Highway 5 is open. Conditions could change quickly, be prepared for delays or sudden road closures.

Returning home safely after a wildfire

Returning home after a wildfire affected the area may be stressful and traumatic. This guide will help you know what to do and where to get help. Before returning home think about what you will see, hear and smell in your community upon return to emotionally prepare yourself and your family. Your community may have changed dramatically.

Keep yourself safe and healthy, with these simple checklists.

Wildfire Status

Wildfires Recovery Pathfinder

A GNWT Pathfinder has been appointed to provide information on questions evacuees may have and where they can get additional details on what services may be available locally or at the evacuation centre in Yellowknife.

As this rapidly changing situation develops, any new information will be shared by the GNWT as soon as it becomes available.

. The pathfinder is available Monday-Friday 9am – 4:30pm.

  • Phone: 867-445-3404
  • Email: DisasterAssistance@gov.nt.ca
  • Please leave a voicemail if there is no answer and your call will be returned.

Health Services for Evacuees

Hay River family physicians are currently available (one physician in Yellowknife for in-person needs and more available virtually) and are ready to assist with health needs of Hay River and KFN evacuees, this includes regular appointments, prescription refills, etc.

  • Call 867-767-9294 or 867-767-9125 for a phone consultation. Identify yourself as an evacuee so we can direct your calls appropriately.
    • We expect high call volumes for this service, so we ask all residents to have patience when calling.
    • For 24/7 non-urgent health advice and information, call 8-1-1 free-of-charge to speak to a registered nurse.

Mental Health Services for Evacuees

Being evacuated from your home community is stressful; checking in with a mental health and counselling resource can help provide strategies, advice, and resources to deal with this difficult situation. Services available to evacuees include:

  • In Person Services at the Multiplex: Mental health workers are available from 9am to 9pm daily at the evacuation centre.
  • Virtual or Remote Supports: Contact the Yellowknife Community Counselling office for information on mental health services. Virtual services are available to people in Yellowknife or another community.
  • Yellowknife Community Counselling Office: Phone Counselling is available 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday. (867) 767-9110 ext. 3

The following supports are also available:

  • NWT Help Line: 1-800-661-0844
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Or text CONNECT to 686868
  • Wellness Together Canada: Adults: 1-866-585-0445, Youth: 1-888-668-6810
  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566
  • Hope For Wellness: 1-855-242-3310
  • Family Violence Crisis line: 1-866-223-7775

Evacuee Accommodations

Evacuation Reception Centre

  • For those not yet returning to Hay River, the Evacuation Reception Centre at the Yellowknife Multiplex continues to be available.
  • Services include evacuee registration, cots, food service, and onsite first aid and mental health supports. Individuals can also get information at the reception centre about accessing health and social services and things like prescriptions.
    • Individuals who have evacuated to Yellowknife – whether they are staying at the reception centre or not – must register in person if they want to be on the list for current or future evacuee services or information updates.
    • For evacuees outside of Yellowknife, accommodations and associated costs for those evacuees are not covered by the GNWT.
    • For evacuees outside of Yellowknife looking for additional accommodation options and support for associated costs, check with your Community Government.

NWT Parks Reservations

Reservations made at multiple NWT Parks will not be available until further notice in order to accommodate wildfire evacuees.

Reminder that until further notice, a fire ban is now in place for the Queen Elizabeth, Fred Henne, and the Yellowknife River territorial parks.

Camp stoves, enclosed BBQs and propane-fueled cooking and heating devices are permitted for use in NWT Parks. They must be placed within regulation fire pits and should not emit a flame more than 0.5 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres in height.

  • Reservations made at Louise Falls, Escarpment Creek, Fort Providence and Lady Evelyn Campgrounds have been suspended.
  • The Hay River Campground continues to be closed due to wildfire.
  • All visitors who have made reservations at these parks (arriving the week of May 15th until the evacuation period is ended) will be automatically refunded in the coming weeks. We thank you for your understanding.

Fred Henne Park (Yellowknife)

  • Campsites are desperately needed in Yellowknife to accommodate wildfire evacuees.
  • Fred Henne Park contractors are working to accommodate everyone. If an evacuee is currently in your Fred Henne site, you may be contacted to change or cancel your reservation. We appreciate your understanding and will only use this approach if no other options are available.
  • Unfortunately, this situation has resulted in incidents of evacuees being scammed online. If you would like to donate your campsite for use by an evacuee, please do not advertise independently
  • Contact Fred Henne Gatehouse at 867-920-2472 between 9am-4pm. Staff will process a full refund to you and ensure the site goes to evacuees on their waitlist.

Actions today

Emergency Management Organization (EMO) Activation:

  • The Territorial, South Slave, North Slave, and Beaufort Delta Emergency Management Organizations (EMO) remain activated.
  • The South Slave REMO and Territorial EMO is in regular communication with and providing ongoing support to the communities of Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation for wildfires.
  • The Beaufort Delta REMO is in regular communication with the local EMO of Aklavik.

Priorities for operations tomorrow

  • Continued monitoring of wildfire to assure safety of evacuees.
  • Continued assistance to the Town of Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation and partner agencies in response.
  • Continued monitoring of water levels in Aklavik.

Staying safe in an emergency

For the latest, most accurate emergency information, continue checking for updates with your local community government and visit www.gov.nt.ca/public-safety.


Many people ask how they can help support evacuees. Here are some ways you can provide donations and support:

  • Monetary donations are being accepted by United Way NWT.
  • Gift cards will be accepted at the Yellowknife reception centre, but donations to United Way are preferred as they are easier to coordinate.
  • Physical goods can be dropped at the Yellowknife Salvation Army Thrift Shop and labeled: Fire Relief.
  • Food donations are not being accepted at the evacuation reception centre in Yellowknife.

Current status – Flood Watch

Aklavik – Rising water levels

  • Water levels are being monitored.
  • As a precautionary measure, an evacuation centre has been set up in Inuvik in case it is needed.

More information


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More