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Heavy smoke from nearby wildfires fills the sky in Yellowknife on Aug. 15.Angela Gzowski/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to convene an urgent meeting with ministers and senior officials today as residents of the capital of Northwest Territories are ordered to evacuate the area because of an encroaching wildfire.

The evacuation order issued late Wednesday applies to Yellowknife, which has a population of about 20,000 people, as well as the nearby communities of Ndilo and Dettah.

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Trudeau, who is on vacation in Tofino, B.C., updated his itinerary Thursday to include an urgent meeting of the incident response group, a cabinet committee that typically consists of senior ministers and top officials.

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  • Lifelong Yellowknife resident Chad Hinchey was on the road by 3 p.m. Wednesday, a couple of hours before residents were ordered to leave, and drove almost nine hours to High River in Northern Alberta.Chad Hinchey/Handout

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But it’s not yet clear who else is expected to be in attendance.

An update on the discussions is expected this afternoon.

Residents of Yellowknife and neighbouring communities have been ordered to leave by noon on Friday, and reception centres for Yellowknife evacuees are set to open at noon Thursday in three Alberta communities.

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