Review will determine what went right, and what needs improvement for any future events
The Yukon government wants to analyze what went right and what could have gone better when the communities of Mayo and Old Crow were evacuated this summer because of nearby wildfires.
The territorial government has put out a request for proposals to do “after action reviews” of both evacuations. They’ll look at how prepared the communities were for an evacuation event.
Both Old Crow and Mayo were put under evacuation orders in early August.
The Yukon government ordered Mayo to evacuate on Aug. 6 as the Talbot Creek wildfire was approaching the community. And the Vuntut Gwitchin Government in Old Crow issued its evacuation order on Aug. 9 amid concerns over smoke and nearby wildfires.
The fires never reached either community and the evacuation orders were lifted within days.
Report expected next year
Julia Duchesne with Yukon Protective Services says the purpose of the review is to find out what might be improved for any future events.
“How can we make sure in the future we can support those orders when they are issued by a First Nation, and what can we learn from that? Because really, every emergency is different, every evacuation is different,” Duchesne said.
“I know we learned a lot this summer and it will be great to have this review to sort of take all those lessons and put them down on paper.”
Trevor Ellis, the mayor of Mayo, says working with the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) during the evacuation went well, all things considered.
“For the village of Mayo, and I think as well for the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun, the plans that we had in place for the community for these events were really outdated and sort of antiquated — and they sort of didn’t take into consideration a lot of the roles and responsibilities that exist today,” said Ellis.
He says the emergency plan for the town of Mayo was 20 years out of date.
Yukon government officials want the review to result in action items or recommendations to better understand what can be done better in the future.
A report is expected by next year.
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Smoke from Canadian wildfires forecast to reach Norway, The Associated Press
Russia: New NOAA report finds vast Siberian wildfires linked to Arctic warming, The Associated Press
Sweden: High risk of wildfires in many parts of Sweden, including North, Radio Sweden
United States: Wildfires in Anchorage? Climate change sparks disaster fears, The Associated Press