The Diavik Diamond Mine has donated 250,000 Canadian dollars ($184,777) to the United Way to support wildfire-response efforts in the pristine Northwest Territories, where thousands of people have been displaced and hundreds of fires are still raging out of control.
The mine, which is located 300 km (190 mi) northeast of Yellowknife and about 193 km (120 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, employs 1,100 people in the Northwest Territories (NWT) and generates about 4.7 million carats in diamonds per year.
So when wildfires raced to the NWT capital city of Yellowknife, displacing all of its 20,000 residents, the Diavik promptly authorized the sizable donation through its parent company’s Rio Tinto Disaster Relief Fund. There are 240 wildfires actively burning across Yellowknife, according to the Canada Helps Facebook page.
A NASA-generated satellite photo shows plumes of smoke billowing from numerous fires near Hay River in the Northwest Territories.
Diavik noted in a press release that the donation underscores the company’s dedication to aiding host communities facing emergencies. The money donated will directly assist registered charities to address immediate crisis requirements, with an emphasis on essential needs, such as food, fuel and other critical incidentals for NWT communities and evacuees.
“At Diavik, we understand the importance of community resilience and timely support,” said Diavik Diamond Mine president and chief operating officer Angela Bigg. “Our hearts go out to everyone impacted, which includes many of our own employees. This contribution is a testament to our long-standing commitment to supporting our communities, especially when they need it the most. Our partnership with the United Way will help ensure that the necessary resources promptly reach those in dire need.”
According to published reports, since the beginning for fire season this year, more than 15.1 million hectares (37.3 million acres) have be scorched across Canada. That’s seven times more than the country’s 25-year average. On August 28, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) reported that 675 fires were still out of control, with especially large numbers in Yukon, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
“We are incredibly grateful for this monumental donation to support NWT residents,” noted Tracy St. Denis, board chair of the United Way Northwest Territories. “As people are forced to evacuate from their communities across the Northwest Territories, the need will only continue to grow, and it’s heartening to see Diavik step up and contribute significant funds to help evacuees and emergency efforts.”
Credits: Wildfire image by National Archives at College Park – Still Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Satellite image courtesy of NASA.gov.