Ontario crews helping fight 4 blazes near Kakisa, N.W.T.

More than 100 Ontario firefighters are on assignment helping tackle the fires in the Northwest Territories, including several near Kakisa.
Scorched earth marks where forest fires have burned near Kakisa, N.W.T. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

More than 190 fires continue to burn in the Northwest Territories and 120 people from Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are now on assignment to help tackle them.

Some of the fire crews are set up at a base camp just off Highway 1 near the community of Kakisa. It's one of three bases set up for the fire crews; the others are at the Reid Lake campground and close to Fort Providence.

Jack Welch, the camp's incident commander, says his team of eight from Northern Ontario relieved a team from Alberta about two weeks ago so they could go home for rest. Since that time, his camp has started battling more than one blaze. 

He says sharing resources between provinces and territories is important because in any given year the situation could be reversed.

"In 2011, Ontario was in the same boat," he said.

"We had crews and overhead and support staff from right across the whole country, so it's good that we can share resources back and forth in times of need. I'm glad we're able to come out here and help out because next year the shoe might be on the other foot and we're going to be asking for help."

Dale Horan is also part of a command team from Northwestern Ontario. He decides where to put the resources fighting the many blazes in the South Slave. He says they're watching four fires closely and the priority is fire 71, burning just north of Highway 1 near Kakisa.

"Obviously the highway is a huge value to them because you don't want the highway shut down," he said.