Entire town of Hay river in Canada ordered to leave as wildfires encroach

Members of B Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment, conduct firefighting operations near Hay River

(Reuters) - Wildfires in Canada's Northwest Territories on Friday forced the evacuation of the entire town of Hay River, a community of about 4,000 people on the Great Slave Lake, authorities said.

The government of the Northwest Territories ordered everyone in town, including essential workers, to go to the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport and await further instructions.

"Anyone who remains in Hay River is doing so at their own risk," the Northwest Territories government said in an alert posted at 3:23 p.m. local time on Friday. "There will be no emergency services or response available."

Canada is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record and in the past week more than 50,000 people, including the entire population of the Northwest Territories' capital Yellowknife, have been forced to flee their homes.

Mail service to numerous communities in the Northwest Territories has also been impacted by the fires, the government said in a later alert.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by Sandra Maler)