Morden'S Bill Gray went to work in Yellowknife setting up a work accommodation camp for the Giant Mine. Wildfires were burning in the area with smoke clouding the city during the day and blackening the sky with dark smoke at night. 

Gray described what he saw when he was there. 

"The problem with it is it's almost like it's horseshoed around Yellowknife. I was using that NASA firmware for the fires, checking out distances and stuff. Before I left, I measured it and the horseshoe was 15 kilometers (about 9.32 mi) from Yellowknife, and it was just creeping closer and closer. It would have gotten to a point where the only escape would have been water." 

A week after his arrival, evacuation notices started being issued for areas surrounding the city and last Thursday the people of Yellowknife were given two days to get out. 

Gray said there were approximately 800 people in line at the airport waiting for a flight. While some were concerned and finding it hard to stay positive, Gray said overall, it was a good experience. 

"Everyone was pretty positive. Everybody helped each other out asking if they wanted water, snacks, whatever else. The Army Rangers were there. They were handing out food, snacks, chairs for the elderly and they always take the elders and families with small children up to the front to make sure they got out quickly. The Army Rangers did it right, that's for sure." 

While the physical atmosphere was heavy with smoke, Gray had good things to say about the atmosphere in the capital city. 

"People there are friendly, very friendly, very nice, eager to help. It almost seems like it's a complete sense of community. Everyone enriched it because there are people helping out people that didn't know each other. It wasn't like a question or anything, it was just a reaction. It was kind of nice when some people were there in line, and were getting upset, there were some people there that would be positive and try to help them calm them down a little bit." 

Gray isn't sure when he'll go back but he sure was happy to get home after no sleep for over 30 hours. 

"A sense relief, but more or less the sense relief for me was getting on the plane in Calgary coming home. There was a big embrace when we got outside for sure. And then I had to send out a spam of texts to family and friends that let them know that I made it at home because everybody was worried. They're getting sick of being worried because this is my fourth time." 

He was evacuated from Fort McMurray, AB in 2016 and twice last year from Wrigley, NWT. Gray expects to return to Yellowknife to set up more accommodation camps for those who will deal with the aftermath of the fire. 

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