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Wildfire evacuation flights expected to land in Calgary every half hour

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Thousands of people, fleeing wildfires in the Northwest Territories, are scheduled to arrive in Calgary throughout Friday.

"It's just a relief to feel safe," said Beatrice Bernhardt, one of the many evacuees who spoke to CTV News at Calgary International Airport on Friday.

"You kind of felt like you didn't know what to do and who to turn to."

Nearly two dozen evacuation flights are set to leave Yellowknife by noon on Friday. Officials say at some points in the day, at least one plane taking off every half hour.

Calgary is ready to help 5,000 evacuees, connecting them with accommodation, transportation and meal vouchers.

"The past week has been so overwhelming to see everything from my childhood from where I was born and stuff – everything burning to ash," said Lois Lafferty, another Yellowknife resident who landed in Calgary.

Military planes have also been deployed to Yellowknife to assist in the evacuation, so planes will be landing in Calgary consistently throughout the day.

If needed, more flights could be set up for Saturday.

(With files from Jordan Kanygin)

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