Enterprise still has a great deal of hot spots within the community.

GNWT officials noted they had completed a heat scan of the evacuated town in the 1 p.m. Hay River wildfire update issued Sept. 13.

“Scans have revealed significant hotspots remaining within the community of Enterprise,” said GNWT wildfire information officer Mike Westwick. “This will need to be addressed going forward in collaboration with the community. We will be working with the community of Enterprise to continue to address hotspots to support the long road to recovery after the tragic losses seen in the community.”

Overnight, Westwick said wildfires came within 500 metres of the Hay River hospital, but were stopped before any damage was inflicted.

Temperatures are anticipated to cool to around 20C today and there is rain in the forecast, with a sprinkle of rain happening just before noon.

“The easternmost finger of fire on the Katlodeeche First Nation Reserve grew significantly to the east past Birch Creek by brisk winds from the west and hot, dry conditions yesterday,” said Westwick. “No structures are known to have been lost at this time. The fire has not reached Fish Point. Despite several flare ups very close to town, defenses continue to hold throughout the Hay River Corridor. This gives a degree of confidence that risk has been meaningfully reduced.”

Westwick added planned ignition operations to reduce potential fuel for the wildfires have been highly successful.

He cautioned that with both Fort Smith and Hay River preparing their re-entry plans that residents should expect to be on edge even after they return home.

“It is not a risk-free, or fire-free return,” he said. “Fire remains active in the area and will until the weather changes and everyone will need to adapt to living with fire. You will see smoke and occasional flare-ups. The work done to secure the perimeter has significantly reduced the chance of these flare-ups causing problems, and crews remain active in the area to address issues.

“This fire will need to be managed until the snow falls. Expect fire crews and aircraft working in the area, and equipment near places you travel. Certain areas may also be off-limits to non-residents due to fire operations at times. Please be cautious and courteous to those continuing to do this critical work.

“Many trees and their root systems have been damaged due to this fire. A lot of work has been done to remove dangerous trees from the most populated areas, but it is likely many still remain. This is a serious hazard. It is best to steer clear of burned forest areas if you can. If you are near burned forest area, be on alert for the potential for falling trees, keep two treelength distance between you and the nearest tree, and do not disturb soil nearby.”

Westwick also cautioned people returning home to mind their drones, noting that they both present a risk to firefighters but also could slow down containment efforts.

“You may be curious what the area looks like from above, but unauthorized drones ground all aircraft in firefighting areas,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done from the air still in Hay River, the Reserve, along Highway 5, and along Highway 1 from just past the NWT/Alberta border through to Kakisa. Don’t let your photography trip pause that critical work.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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