Cots for evacuees at Yellowknife's multiplex in 2022. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A centre for wildfire evacuees set up in Yellowknife has now closed. The Kátł’odeeche First Nation says most of its residents are staying elsewhere.
The First Nation has not reopened for people to return home following its May 14 evacuation order. Community leaders asked on Thursday for everyone “to be patient and stay put for a few more days,” wherever they may be staying.
According to the First Nation, most residents are in Fort Providence or Hay River. The Town of Hay River, across the river from the First Nation and nowhere near as badly affected by a recent wildfire that destroyed some of the First Nation’s homes, allowed residents to return last week.
On Friday morning, NWT health minister Julie Green said the Yellowknife evacuee centre – which initially offered emergency shelter to hundreds of people escaping the wildfire – had closed as “the few remaining guests have other accommodation.”
The First Nation said Hay River’s Ptarmigan Inn and Fort Providence’s Snowshoe Inn have been providing meals for evacuees, and the Hay River homeless shelter is available for anyone still in need of accommodation.
“Plans are under way to welcome the community home when it is safe to do so,” the First Nation wrote in a Thursday update.
On their return, residents are told to expect a fire safety orientation at the entrance to the First Nation’s reserve, a re-entry card for each family, and a sign-up sheet for people wanting to help the community rebuild.
The First Nation’s welcome centre will offer cleaning supplies, information, food and activities once the community reopens.