A cabin near Fort Smith was destroyed by a wildfire, the GNWT announced following a reconnaissance flight on Oct. 3.

The structure was located about 40 km from the community, on the the southeast section of wildfire SS069.

The owner of the cabin has been notified of this development, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

“This was due to a combination of extreme winds and dry conditions unusual for the season. This caused the fire to flare up and take a significant run on the south flank,” ENR stated.

The blaze remains active.

“We have dispatched a team to install structure protection, including sprinklers, surrounding other cabins in the vicinity of the fire,” reads an Oct. 4 news release from ENR. “This kind of activity is extraordinary for this time of year. The NWT is facing down one of the longest periods of continuous wildfire activity in decades – with drier forests and persistently elevated temperatures.”

Fire danger is expected to remain high or extreme at all monitoring stations in the South Slave, and many stations in the Dehcho and North Slave regions over the next three days, the department added.

“Our wildfire team continues to monitor wildfires closely, and will action those which threaten values – like cabins, infrastructure, and communities – when possible,” ENR stated. “These conditions also mean everyone needs to remain especially vigilant when using fire on the land in the central or southern portions of the territory. We never want to see folks lose things in fires. These values are important to people’s livelihoods and wellness. That’s why our wildfire team works tirelessly to do whatever is possible to protect structures, while ensuring safety of responders and protection of communities season after season.

“The unfortunate reality is that they will not be able to protect every value all the time. In the NWT, we’re in a landscape where fire is the most important natural force with things we value dotting that landscape. These losses will happen.”

ENR reminds residents that its also their responsibility to protect their homes, cabins, and camps, particularly by following measures recommended through the FireSmart program before a threatening blaze arrives.

FireSmart involves removing items that can burn from around structures, and building with fire resistance in mind.

“Many of the steps are simple and inexpensive – and they are proven to work,” ENR stated. “We urge everyone in the NWT, especially those with cabins or businesses out in the bush, to take steps to make their place more FireSmart before wildfire season begins in May.”

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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