Fort Smith prepares for wildfire risk
Residents in Fort Smith, N.W.T., are being advised to prepare for a possible evacuation, in case a forest fire that is burning in the area comes close to town.
A crew of firefighters is battling the wildfire, which is currently about 40 kilometres east of Fort Smith.
But while that fire poses no imminent threat at this time, local residents have received emergency registration forms and pamphlets on how to get ready should the town need to be evacuated.
"Residents should be aware that we're under very dry conditions. With any potential emergency, residents are just advised to be prepared," Richard Olsen, the N.W.T. government's forest manager in the South Slave region, told CBC News on Friday.
Olsen said firefighters are also working on a forest fire that was discovered on Thursday, about two kilometres south of the Taltson hydroelectric dam's airstrip.
"We have crews actioning that, and the perimeter's being held and they're just putting it under control right now, so things are looking good on that one," he said.
Prudent to be prepared: mayor
Fort Smith Mayor Jane Hobart said officials are gathering information about who is in town and advising them on how to leave the community if necessary.
"It is prudent for the town to be prepared," she said. "We are all aware that currently the entire Northwest Territories is at extreme fire danger. It has been hot, dry and windy."
Resident Cece Heron said she is glad the town is taking steps to prepare for a possible evacuation, citing the hardships residents of Slave Lake, Alta., face after a massive forest fire destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.
"It's wonderful that they're finally recognizing that they need to do emergency preparedness, should a situation like a forest fire occur close to the community," Heron said.
A fire ban is in place in Fort Smith.