Avalon's NWT Nechalacho exploration site is more than a mining operation. It's become a base camp for a crew from Yukon fighting a nearby forest fire. 

The camp is 100 kilometres east of Yellowknife, near Blachford Lake Lodge. A fire in the area started July 21. 

"I've never seen a group of harder working people in all my life," says Chris Pederson, the site manager at Nechalacho, who offered the site to the crew from Yukon. 

"I just said this would be a perfect fire base for them." 

Avalon already has places to sleep, float planes to transport gear and a trailer the crew uses a kitchen. 

Jack Bird, with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, helps manage the firefighters. He says crews kept the fire to a little more than two kilometres square. 

Nechalacho base camp fire crews hose

A water hose leads out of Thor Lake at the Nechalacho mining exploration site, about 100 kilometres outside Yellowknife. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)

"Which is very huge accomplishment in these burning conditions right now."

Bird has been working with Avalon and the owners of Blachford Lake Lodge, telling them how to keep fire away from their properties. 

Avalon also wants to protect its $40 million worth of rock samples. They're stored outside in wooden containers at the site. It is considering bulldozing trees around the property's perimeter and installing sprinklers on top of the drill core.

"If a fire went through it, you'd just have a heap of core on the ground. You wouldn't know what holes they were from or anything like that. Knowing exactly where the drill core comes from is critical...I mean, we don't want to lose the camp, but a camp is almost replaceable and the drill core is almost irreplaceable," said Bill Mercer, Avalon's vice president of exploration. 

The fire closest to the property is nearly out. 

The crew from Yukon is expected to finish mopping up the fire by Saturday.