Residents of Jean Marie River, N.W.T., are on high alert in case they have to evacuate the community due to nearby wildfires.

Arnold Gargan, who works with the First Nation’s Works Department, said there are fires burning all around the small community of about 80 people. One is about 10 kilometres away.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is advising that people at risk, which is mainly the elderly and the sick, as well as people with breathing problems.

"As soon as the wind changes this way, we're not going to wait, we're going to get them out as soon as possible. We're talking about five or six people. They would probably go to Fort Simpson," said Gargan.

As of about 9:30 p.m. MT, some residents had reportedly already left the community as a precaution.

Gargan and the volunteer firefighters will stay and watch the community. He added that forestry crews have made a camp in the community.

Gargan said he can see the brown smoke from the fire going across the Mackenzie River.

"People right now, they're getting ready. They're packing all their personal bags, pulling their boats out of the water. Gassing up their vehicles, everything."

N'Dulee ferry closed

Another fire northwest of Fort Simpson has forced the closure of the N'Dulee ferry between Fort Simpson and Wrigley.

Officials said it looked like the fire could jump the river, so they evacuated the highway camp and closed a section of the highway.