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Evacuation order lifted for Kakisa, N.W.T.

The mouth of the Kakisa River. The community was ordered to evacuate on Aug. 17 as a wildfire threatened the community. The order was lifted on Sept. 9.  (Joanne Stassen/CBC - image credit)
The mouth of the Kakisa River. The community was ordered to evacuate on Aug. 17 as a wildfire threatened the community. The order was lifted on Sept. 9. (Joanne Stassen/CBC - image credit)

The Northwest Territories government lifted an evacuation order for Kakisa, N.W.T., on Saturday.

The news went out through an N.W.T. government Facebook post. It said the community will remain under an evacuation alert, meaning residents should be prepared to leave on short notice if another evacuation order is issued.

"Just waiting around and just waiting to go home was hard for a lot of people," said Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation Chief Lloyd Chicot.

The community of around 40 people was ordered to evacuate on Aug. 17 due to a threatening wildfire. Chicot said the majority of the community left for Fort Simpson, N.W.T., as a result of the order.

The decision was made by the territorial government, rather than local leadership.

At the time, telecommunications services had been damaged by wildfire, so the community was informed of the order by way of a letter given to Chicot. He said he received the letter a few days after the order went out.

In an earlier interview with CBC News, Chicot said his community became aware of the evacuation order, before receiving the letter, by watching CBC News on TV.

Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation Chief Lloyd Chicot confirmed to CBC News he received a letter from ECC officers about the evacuation order sometime over the weekend. Chicot was not clear about which day, exactly.
Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation Chief Lloyd Chicot confirmed to CBC News he received a letter from ECC officers about the evacuation order sometime over the weekend. Chicot was not clear about which day, exactly.

'Just waiting around and just waiting to go home was hard for a lot of people,' said Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation Chief Lloyd Chicot. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Chicot said as residents, return they will need to buy groceries and fuel, so many will be travelling to Fort Providence, N.W.T., and even High Level, Alta., for supplies.

There are many in the community who live a traditional lifestyle, relying on the land for food, but low water levels have made that more difficult.

"We haven't been able to go out on the lake and stuff, so that's been a challenge," Chicot said.

An update from N.W.T. Fire around at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday says the fire is about 12 kilometres from Kakisa.

N.W.T. Fire said that heavy equipment will continue work in the Kakisa area to "secure the area and support a safe return."