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Inuvik residents, unnerved by fire, are told to be prepared

EV014's satellite hot-spots and burn area as of AUgust 10, 2023.
EV014's satellite hot-spots and burn area as of AUgust 10, 2023.


As a wildfire northeast of Inuvik closed to around 12 km from the town, residents were told online to prep an emergency kit – just in case.

Municipal officials stressed that there’s no evacuation alert so far. A public advisory issued on Thursday afternoon told residents: “Be prepared.”

“This is having folks prepare now to avoid some stresses and panic in the event an order is issued,” deputy mayor Natasha Kulikowski wrote online.

Michael Trabysh, Inuvik’s senior administrator, told Cabin Radio: “There’s no reason to panic. We’ve had so much panic in the community today and we’re really trying to get control of that.



“We are nowhere near any threat from the fire. We are nowhere near an evacuation.”

Fire EV014 has progressed around five kilometres closer to Inuvik than it was a day ago.

NWT Fire stated at 6:30pm on Thursday: “Heavy smoke is challenging crews and residents in Inuvik. The fire has grown and northeastern wind is pushing smoke and ash into the community.

“While the fire is not expected to reach the community overnight, residents are advised to gather important documents, pet supplies, medications and other necessities out of an abundance of caution.”



The Town of Inuvik asked residents to pre-register on a GNWT evacuee registration portal in case the situation worsens.

“Having residents pre-registered will help the municipality with planning activities to provide better support during an evacuation,” the town stated.

“It will allow you to let your community government know if you have support needs in the event of an evacuation such as: Do you need to stay at an evacuation centre?”

Trabysh added: “There are three levels of alert and the first one is where we’re at right now, which is basically an advisory level. Level two is when we would put out an official evacuation notice: ‘Be prepared, because in two to three days you may need to evacuate.’ Level three would be your full evacuation order.

“I want to emphasize that we are only at level one. All the information I am receiving from people at senior levels is that the fire is no risk to the town of Inuvik.”

Trabysh said a similar fire about a decade ago burned much of the fuel in the area that the current fire is entering, which is helping to slow down its progress.

The down side of that, he said, is that if the fire gradually dies down, that could still increase the amount of smoke in Inuvik’s air. For days, Inuvik has had some of the worst air quality residents can remember.

“When a fire starts to smoulder out, it makes more smoke, so we may see more intense smoke in the days ahead,” Trabysh said.