Canadian Armed Forces solders arrived in Yellowknife this week and immediately started assisting city workers and contractors with the establishment of a fire break in the Grace Lake area, which went on evacuation alert as of Tuesday.

Soldiers from the Royal 22nd Regiment arrive at a residential subdivision in Grace Lake to help build a firebreak. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Sgt. William Soucy Berube with Royal 22nd Regiment gives instructions on where troops need to be deployed. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Canadian Armed Forces members from as far as Quebec joined Yellowknifers in forming lines of defence against wildfires. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Troops were equipped with chainsaws and shovels to clear away vegetation that could fuel a wildfire. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Lisa Fromont, a landscaper with Arctic Farmer, was contracted to cut down trees in the Grace Lake area. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Heavy equipment clears vegetation from the area. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Water is sprayed into the air to wet the surrounding ground in hopes of slowing any approaching fire. Kaihceng Xin/NNSL photo

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at

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  1. Why only now? Please link to a detailed story on a historical perspective on fire breaks. Why is there not an adequate network of fire breaks given multiple years of apparently increasing wildfires?

    I assume there’s important nuance that doesnt reach news reporting. is it simply impractical when everything is tinder dry?

    I assume emergency work focuses on widening and dampening existing permanent breaks / access tracks.

    is there permanent good maintenance where (i assume) there are margins to permanent firebreaks where the trees are thinned and ground scrub removed so a break can be quickly widened with relatively few trees felled?