From private contractors to military personnel to volunteers, a whole lot of people in Yellowknife are working together with one goal in mind: keeping the Northwest Territories city safe from a raging wildfire.
"There's so many people pulling in the same direction," said Chris Greencorn, the director of public works and engineering for the City of Yellowknife.
It's "the "biggest co-ordinated effort of people that I've ever seen in my life."
Greencorn, who is still in the city, says his role involves a lot of behind-the scenes work to ensure the co-ordination of heavy equipment, the availability of water for sprinklers, scheduling garbage pick-up and even deterring wildlife.
"I'm just kind of pushing paper … but there's way more people below me doing God's work," he said.
A series of fire breaks built to the city's west side includes about 20 kilometres of hose and pipe laid to feed a network of sprinklers and water cannons. Crews have also built a 100-metre-wide control line that stretches 10 kilometres through the bush.
Greencorn's regular posts to social media have also offered glimpses of Yellowknife for the nearly 20,000 residents who evacuated the city last week.
"I've gotten a little bit of traction and I don't like it all," he said. "I'm hoping to become very un-newsworthy very quickly."
A file photo of Chris Greencorn, the director of public works and engineering for the City of Yellowknife. (CBC)
Greencorn's family are among the residents who have evacuated and he said being away from them hasn't been easy. In the days after, he said he was constantly checking in with his wife amidst all the work of building fire protections.
"You're running on adrenaline … and then the other night, I just ran out of gas and kind of hit the wall," he said.
Soon after he said he had a "moment" with the mayor during which he told her, "You started this ... I've never put my family in a vehicle and sent them south without me before!"
Cooler heads soon prevailed, he said, and they returned their focus on protecting the city.
While recent rain, cooler temperatures and lighter winds are expected to keep the fire at bay until at least Thursday, there is concern about the hot, dry and windy conditions that are expected to return this week.
Water pumps ready to be deployed near Yellowknife as wildfire approaches the city last week. (Submitted by Chris Greencorn)
N.W.T. Fire has said at least 60 millimetres of rain over a 10-day period would be needed to return moisture in the forest to normal seasonal levels.
About five millimetres of rain has fallen on the fire in the past three days, and there is little precipitation in the forecast.
"This is still very much a serious situation," said Mike Westwick, fire information officer with the N.W.T. government.
He added that crews will be taking on a 40-kilometre perimeter of "very hot, deep-burning fire." The fire is about 15 kilometres from city limits at its closest point.
"We're not out of the woods yet, not anywhere near it, really," he said.