The wildfire on Hay River’s doorstep is once again on the move and it’s beginning to become a bigger threat to the K’atl’odeeche First Nation (KFN).

Monday morning’s update from NWT Fire showed the blaze at 470,960 hectares and sitting 1 km from the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport, a half-kilometre away from the hospital and industrial area of town and 2 km from the nearest structure in KFN.

When it comes to West Point First Nation, it’s a half-kilometre from the edge.

Winds picked up on Sunday, according to Mike Westwick, wildfire information officer for the Department of Environment and Climate Change, and that pushed the eastern-most finger of flames 5 km north to the shore of Great Slave Lake on the reserve.

The wind also took the fire 14 km north at the northeast corner of the fire to the shore of the Mackenzie River from kilometre 156 on Highway 1.

Westwick stated that defences held on the west side of the river through the Hay River corridor, as did defences done on the first finger of fire on Highway 5.

Ignition operations south of Enterprise on Sunday worked, he added, which headed off a portion of potential growth toward Highway 1, but airtankers had no luck during the big move of the eastern-most portion of the blaze.

Those airtankers were back in the air on Monday morning to hit targets, he stated.

Heavy machinery would be continuing to tightline — dig away mid- and deep-forest fuels right on the edge of the fire —from Great Slave Lake right through to the Highway 1 junction on Monday. Tightlining was also scheduled to happen to try and secure both fingers of fire threatening KFN as well.

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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