Smoke prevents Yellowknife from holding welcome home celebration
YELLOWKNIFE -- Smoke has forced Yellowknife to cancel a celebration marking the return of residents to the city after a wildfires-prompted evacuation that lasted for weeks.
The Northwest Territories capital had planned a "Welcome Home" gathering on Saturday at Somba K'e Civic Plaza, featuring live music, bouncy castles and a shop-local contest.
But the city posted a notice on its website that due to poor air quality, the celebration has been cancelled due to safety concerns, although the shop-local promotion was still on.
Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a special air-quality statement on Saturday for Yellowknife, saying "smoke is causing or expected to cause poor air quality and reduced visibility."
Everyone in the city of approximately 20,000 was ordered to leave in mid-August due to a nearby wildfire, and they were only allowed to return on Sept. 6 when the evacuation order was downgraded to an alert.
Yellowknife says on its website there is free access to its fieldhouse track and indoor playground until air quality improves.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2023.