Skip to content

City of Red Deer welcoming evacuees from Northwest Territories

The City of Red Deer is able to welcome as many as 1,000 evacuees from the Northwest Territories.
A reception centre for people fleeing wildfires in the Northwest Territories was set up at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre on Thursday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

The City of Red Deer is able to welcome as many as 1,000 evacuees from the Northwest Territories.

Due to raging wildfires, thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate from Yellowknife and neighbouring communities. On Thursday morning, a fire information officer stated the goal was to have the 20,000 Yellowknife residents out of the city by Friday at noon.

In Red Deer, a reception centre for the evacuees was ready at noon on Thursday at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre.

“The City of Red Deer has been requested by the province to assist the evacuees from the Northwest Territories by setting up an evacuation reception centre,” said Carol Lind, City of Red Deer emergency management co-ordinator.

“People can come here to register and that allows us to track where people are coming from and to provide them with supports, such as lodging, meals. The city is providing evacuees with free bus passes and free recreation passes for the duration of their stay.”

People arriving in Red Deer from the Northwest Territories are asked to register at the centre. In addition to meals and lodging, other supports are available, including assistance for medical and pet care.

“The city is always a very good neighbour and we try to help out our community partners wherever possible, as well as other jurisdictions. It’s very important we play a role in it,” Lind said, adding the expectation is that people will trickle into the city’s reception centre in throughout the coming days.

The G.H. Dawe Community Centre remains open to the public and all recreation activities are running as scheduled.

People looking to support evacuees can do so by donating to the Canadian Red Cross or Central Alberta Humane Society (to support evacuees with pets). Both of these organizations are accepting monetary donations only.

Donations to the Red Cross can be made either online at or at the local Red Cross Office (105 – 5301 43 St.). To donate to the Central Alberta Humane Society, visit

More information on the city’s response is available at

Some other Alberta communities, including Calgary, Valleyview, Fox Creek and Lac La Biche, also have reception centres for evacuees.

During emergency management events, emergency management mutual aid agreements that outline supports between governments are common practice between provinces, territories and the federal government.

“Albertans understand all too well how challenging and stressful it is to be evacuated from their homes due to wildfires, which is why we’re stepping up to help,” said Premier Danielle Smith.

“I want to reassure evacuees coming to Alberta that we are doing everything we can to make sure they have the supports they need.”

—With files from The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
Read more