The wildfire which has engulfed much of the K’atl’odeeche First Nation and threatens the town of Hay River remains out of control as of Monday morning.
NWT Fire updated the situation just after 11 a.m. Monday morning with the belief that as many as 15 buildings may have been damaged as a result of the blaze. No damage has been reported in Hay River, though the Hay River Fire Department was busy overnight putting out spot fires. Those fires were a result of embers jumping the river.
NWT Fire reported that structure protection is the priority and that involves installing sprinkler kits to do that. Firefighters will also continue to battle the blaze.
Rain is expected over the next couple of days in the region, but it’s expected to provide little relief due to the dry conditions.
Easterly winds are expected to remain strong today and that will keep pushing the fire toward both the town and the reserve, but those winds are expected to be from the west and the north, which would push the fire away from both communities.
That causes another problem as the fire could grow bigger the other way.
NWT Fire stated that six crews are currently on scene fighting the fire and six more were en route to the area. Three helicopters are also water-dropping and more aircraft are being mobilized. Tankers are also dropping payloads on the area and heavy equipment is on-site with more on the way.
At around 11:45 a.m. Monday, the Town of Hay River’s Facebook page was warning people who have elected to stay in the town to not drive on roads adjacent to the river in town. That would impact emergency efforts to protect the river banks.
KFN Chief April Martel posted an update to the KFN Facebook page just after 11 a.m. Monday in which she described what was happening on the reserve.
Security was posted at the entrance to the reserve and crews from both Rowe’s Construction and Carter Industries building a fire guard to protect whatever could be protected. Martel said the guard would be extended all the way around the Dene Wellness Centre.
MACA has announced that those who were evacuating needed to register at the Hay River Community Centre if they needed assistance. The Multiplex will be the evacuation centre for those affected and anyone who enters the building must be registered.
Martel said a bus was set to leave Fort Providence for Yellowknife at 11:15 a.m. with another bus at the Environment and Climate Change near the reserve entrance leaving at 11:45 a.m. to pick up those in Enterprise. It was scheduled to stop in Fort Providence to pick up anyone who was still there and head up to Yellowknife.
The Dene Nation is also going to be at the Multiplex to assist with whatever needs to be taken care of, she added.
Martel also said Evergeen Forestry and the town’s emergency services personnel were assisting with efforts and that she had been in contact with both Hay River Mayor Kandis Jameson and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA).