Northwestel long distance still down in parts of N.W.T.

Northwestel says a forest fire damaged its equipment and has caused problems with long distance telephone service in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, most service has been restored but crews are still working on service to the MacKenzie Valley.

Forest fire melts equipment, disrupts long distance and Internet service

Northwestel says technicians are working to restore long distance and some data services in the Mackenzie Valley.

The company has determined a forest fire near Fort Simpson damaged equipment and disrupted service earlier today. Long-distance service between Yellowknife and Hay River, N.W.T. as well as between Inuvik, N.W.T. and the Yukon was down for several hours. 

"Northwestel technicians have restored long distance calling between Yellowknife and Hay River areas to Yukon and Inuvik areas," the company said in a release.​

Northwestel spokesperson Eric Clement said the fire was so hot that it melted part of the equipment that the microwave signal must pass through. 

Clement said the company sent a backhoe from Fort Simpson to dig up cables and give repair crews access to splice new equipment and fix the melted fibre.

"We have a splicing crew that has been dispatched to the Morrisey Microwave site and that is near Fort Simpson in the N.W.T.," Clement said. "They are going to be repairing damage caused by heavy winds and a forest fire that took place yesterday evening."

He said technicians saw smoke when they arrived at the site this morning. Clement said they still don't know how long it will take to fix the problem. 

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