The wildfires burning in the Northwest Territories are now impacting medical travel out of the Kitikmeot region, according to an Aug. 16 news release from the Nunavut Department of Health.

The wildfires have caused evacuation orders in several areas of the NWT, which has in turn crowded hotels in the territory, including those around Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital.

With hotels around the hospital at capacity, Kitikmeot medical travellers with appointments for non-urgent care may experience postponements, the GN’s news release advised. Those travellers will be contacted directly about any changes to their appointments.

Patients requiring urgent medical care may be flown to Edmonton, rather than Yellowknife.

“The Department of Health is monitoring the situation closely and is in discussions with partners at the Stanton Territorial Hospital,” the release stated.

Nunavummiut with questions about upcoming medical appointments in Yellowknife are encouraged to contact Kitikmeot Medical Travel toll-free at 1-844-886-8010 or, after hours, at 983-4506 and 983-5196.

As of the morning of Aug. 16, there almost 240 fires burning across the NWT. Combined, the fires have affected 2.1 million hectares of land.

There is also a fire burning around Bathurst Inlet in Nunavut, where such incidents are less common due to the lack of trees and shrubs. That fire prompted the GN to enact a state of emergency in the unpopulated area, which includes evacuation orders for anybody already there. The state of emergency is expected to last until Aug. 23, 2023.

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