Wildfire, smokey sky

Thousands fled wildfires advancing on one of the largest cities in Canada's far north on Thursday. Convoys snaked south to safety on the only open highway and evacuation flights took off from the airport.

The order to evacuate Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories marks the latest chapter in a terrible summer for wildfires in Canada. More than 20,000 residents of the regional capital have been given until noon Friday to leave.

Emergency responders were constructing firebreaks, installing sprinkler lines and water cannons, and laying fire retardant in an effort to prevent the blaze from reaching the city — which remains a real possibility in coming days, officials said.

Northwest winds over the next two days will send the fire "in directions we don't want," said Mike Westwick, Northwest Territories' fire information officer.

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