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Firefighters in Hay River. Photo: Town of Hay River
Firefighters in Hay River. Photo: Town of Hay River

Our ongoing wildfire coverage plans


Hi, this is Ollie, Cabin Radio’s editor. Wherever you’re reading this from, I hope you’re safe and being taken care of.

I wanted to publish a note explaining how we will continue to cover the NWT’s wildfire crisis and the ongoing evacuation of multiple communities, with many thousands of residents now spread across Canada.

We know some of you relied on our live text updates over the past six days. I am extremely proud of our small team. At our strongest we had six reporters, including one drafted in from our on-air team, one from our sales team and one called back from vacation, but many times this week our coverage was held together by one or two people while others evacuated.

On Thursday, in particular, our coverage was mostly provided by journalists writing updates from their cars, phoning people and researching evacuee resources while being driven out of danger by their friends or partners.



A Starlink dish propped up by bags of dog kibble, used by Ollie to file live updates as his partner drove the truck down Highway 1 away from Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A Starlink dish held in place by bags of dog kibble, used by Ollie to file live updates as his partner drove the truck down Highway 1 away from Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

That is a level of professional dedication several steps beyond the call of duty and my colleagues are heroes to me for their work this week.

Our general manager is assisting with wildfire defence in Yellowknife. All other staff are beyond the evacuation zone and are safe. Most are in Alberta, while our assistant editor Emily and I are in Fort Simpson.

If you’d like to make a small monthly contribution to our reporting, you can do that here. To make a one-off donation, you can send an e-transfer to

Below, I have prepared a Q&A about what you can expect from us next as we all enter a new, strange phase: getting on with our lives outside our communities indefinitely, while we watch what happens at home.



Where are the live updates?

Our live updates ended on Friday night, for three reasons.

Firstly, they are incredibly resource-intensive and it isn’t fair to ask our team of evacuees to work through the weekend sustaining that kind of output.

Secondly, I genuinely believe most evacuees need to have some time not refreshing an apocalyptic page of all the things going wrong in their lives every 10 minutes, even if there was some occasional optimism or humour in there.

And thirdly, most people are out and safe. The live updates have served their main purpose during the time of peak crisis.

Instead, we will switch to our regular model: swift, accurate breaking-news reporting of any significant update regarding any NWT community, which you can immediately see by checking our homepage.

My recommendation: on your laptop or phone, use your browser to check that page every couple of hours or so. Don’t rely on our app, which we’re in the process of replacing and which, bless it, is creaking at the seams (keep it though, our new app will automatically replace it when it’s ready).

The mobile version of our site in your browser is much more powerful and gives you the stories in an order that we curate to ensure the most pressing information is available first.

What about the evacuee supports pages?

We are updating these continually, throughout this weekend and beyond.



We now have three guides: one if you still need to get out, one for places to stay and one for anything else, which is where all financial information will go as we get it. We realize that how we all pay for things is now a priority and are working on it.

If you can contribute any information to these, please email us with the subject line Supports and our team will add what you send to the most appropriate guide.

If you can’t find an answer you’re looking for, please email us with the subject line Question. We’ll try to help people in any remaining time we have but do not rely on this for urgent requests and we will not be able to answer everyone. Please, please check the guides above very carefully before emailing.

What about next week and beyond?

We have an extra reporter joining our staff late next week. We’ve assigned our team to four-day, nine-hour shifts in a bid to give people a little extra time for themselves while maintaining coverage.

As above, continue checking our homepage regularly. If at any point we need to escalate back to live text updates, we will do so instantly.

Early next week, our morning show team will begin airing a live video show (probably on YouTube, given the Meta ban) from 8am MT daily. We’ll confirm this once we’re sure everyone who’d need to be involved is safe and rested.

We did the same during Covid. The aim will be to provide a morning listening and viewing experience that unites all our many host communities, so we can stay together even though we’re apart. No matter which NWT community you’re from – or anywhere else in the world! – we’ll have up to an hour of live chat, entertainment, interviews and updates from Wheeler, Lekter, me, AJ, Megan, Shannon and all of our many friends of the Cabin.

How do I see and share your news without Facebook and Instagram?

Our audience did an extraordinary job of getting around the Meta news ban this past week. Please accept my thanks, the screengrabs people used to get important news onto social channels made a big difference.



Clearly, you know how to find our website. Bookmark it, make it a shortcut on your home screen, do whatever you need to do. Treat it like a separate part of your routine next to checking Facebook, your email, whatever else.

I am also told that websites like TinyURL can be used to shorten links to our content then share them on Facebook and Instagram. It won’t work for us because Meta blocks us from posting anything to Canadian users. But it should work for you. Share, share, share if you can, especially the evacuee guides above.

What about when Yellowknife goes back?

Depending on the format of the return to Yellowknife, we will – if need be – reinstate live updates to get everybody back into the city.

Having said that, the likelihood is that any return to the city will come with significantly more planning time for all of us, so we’ll take a decision based on re-entry plans as they are announced.

It’s not all about Yellowknife, though…

Much of the above applies to all NWT communities. We will be working hard to reflect the experience of everyone, not just Yellowknife residents, and by Thursday next week we will have two reporters whose main priorities are smaller NWT communities.

Can we maybe have some non-wildfire news?

We will slowly transition back to providing as-normal-as-possible coverage of other things but obviously, our coverage will be dominated for some time by the wildfire situation and its consequences.

Where we can, we’ll try to provide some light relief and uplifting reporting.

I know these people who were amazing during the wildfires.

We cannot wait to start telling the stories of all the people who performed heroic actions this past week.



Please email us with the subject line Amazing and tell us who we should report on and why. If you have contact details – for them and for you, to talk about why – please include those too. Same goes for photos or video related to what happened.

Do you still want photos and video from the evacuation?

Yes, and from your life as an evacuee too. Please send those to us by email with the subject line Photos (even if it’s video).

Note that we may not respond as our inboxes are wild right now, but we are very grateful for all the submissions, which help us to illustrate our ongoing coverage and document what’s happening.