Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened the Incident Response Group with ministers and senior officials to discuss wildfires and extreme weather across the country.
The Group discussed the devastating impact of the over 5,500 wildfires that have ravaged provinces and territories across Canada this year. They were briefed specifically on the latest developments in the Northwest Territories, where more than 21,000 square kilometres have burned, over 230 wildfires continue to burn, and thousands of residents have been forced to leave their homes. The approximately 20,000 residents of the territorial capital of Yellowknife have been ordered to evacuate the city by Friday at noon.
Ministers and senior officials provided an update on the federal support currently being deployed in the Northwest Territories, including Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police personnel as well as aircraft, logistics, planning and coordination, and other resources. The Prime Minister thanked all federal officials who have been assisting with the emergency response and evacuation process.
The Prime Minister, ministers, and officials discussed ongoing safety issues related to public infrastructure, including roads and telecommunications, and the actions needed to mitigate the impacts of the wildfires on communities and infrastructure to keep people safe, including as part of evacuation efforts. The Prime Minister asked ministers to work with partners in the telecommunication sector to ensure that essential services remain available for Canadians impacted.
The Prime Minister and ministers also stressed that there would be no tolerance for opportunistic price escalation, including airfare and essential goods for those impacted by the wildfires.
The Group highlighted the important work being delivered by the Government Operations Centre, which continues to work closely with federal and territorial partners to coordinate the federal response to the situation as it evolves.
They encouraged residents to continue following evacuation orders and the advice of officials and first responders.
The Prime Minister and all ministers agreed on the importance of continuing to provide whatever support is needed to impacted provinces and territories, to protect the health, safety, and security of all Canadians. They also expressed that their thoughts are with all impacted residents, and they expressed their gratitude to the courageous women and men fighting the wildfires across the country.