Raging wildfires continue burning in the Northwest Territories, forcing thousands to flee their homes, including Dylan Jones.
“We almost lost it two nights ago. The current fire is sitting 3 kilometres from my doorstep,” Jones told CTV News Ottawa.
He lives in the town of Fort Smith near the Alberta border where the fire risk ranges from high to extreme.
“It’s holding but we’ve got another release saying there’s fire activity pushing towards the community and, yeah, we are certainly not out of the frying pan yet.”
The entire territory is under a state of emergency as crews continue to battle more than 200 active wildfires. When authorities issued a complete evacuation order for his town and neighbouring communities, his family left immediately with just the clothes on their back.
“When it’s your house that the fire is coming out of or your friends or your family’s, it does get pretty scary,” said Jones.
Nathalie Carrier checks in with her friend Dylan Jones who was forced to evacuate his home in Fort Smith, N.W.T. due to the wildfires. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)
In Ottawa, Nathalie Carrier waits for the latest update from Jones.
“I just want them to be safe,” she said of her friend. Carrier is hoping to bring his family to the capital while they wait out the forest fires.
“That’s all I want. We know what it is like to have smoke here in Ottawa; I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have fire.”
The Vanier BIA executive director says many members of the neighbourhood have deep ties to the north.
“Vanier has the highest population of Indigenous people and highest population of Inuit outside of Nunavut, so we are trying to help out who we can,” she said. “It’s very difficult to determine what the needs are right now but we do know there is a great need.”
Jones and his family have found refuge in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia but in a few days, he’ll be heading back to the Northwest Territories to help contain the raging fire.
“All of us have been fighting fires since essentially summer, but now it’s on your doorstep and they’re calling in everybody so I’ll go back in as a volunteer,” he said.
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