North

7 new fires start in N.W.T.'s North Slave region, 2 near hydro facilities

Lightning ignited seven new forest fires in the North Slave Region of the N.W.T. since Monday, and two of them are near hydroelectric facilities.

Fire official credits 'really good work' by crews for keeping risk to communities and property low

A department of Environment and Natural Resources map showing fires in the N.W.T. as of July 5. Lightning has ignited seven new forest fires in the North Slave Region of the N.W.T., and two of them are near hydroelectric facilities supplying power to the area that includes Yellowknife. (NWT Fire)

Lightning ignited seven new forest fires in the North Slave Region of the N.W.T. since Monday, and two of them are near hydroelectric facilities supplying power to the area that includes Yellowknife.

Richard Olsen, the N.W.T.'s manager of fire operations, said so far three of the new fires are under control, two are being acted upon, and two are being assessed.

"We had a fire that started just on the north side of Bluefish dam," he said.

"That fire is mapped at one hectare in size, and is listed as under control at this point in time."

According to Olsen, there were no reports of damage to transmission lines or hydro towers in the area, which supply up to 20 per cent of Yellowknife's electricity needs

Fire officials are also monitoring a 10-hectare fire that is 10 kilometres south of the Snare hydro system.

"It was originally initially attacked, but due to the fires closer to Yellowknife and the fire growth itself, we pulled off of that one," said Olsen.

"We're now doing further assessment for value protection just around the Snare hydro dam."

Olsen said there is no immediate risk to transmission lines in that area either, but that it's too early to say whether that could change.

The Snare Hydro System provides power to Yellowknife, Behchoko and Dettah, and includes four separate hydro plants as well as 150 kilometres of transmission lines.

Crews being brought in from other N.W.T. regions

Fire crews, helicopters and air tankers are working on a 15 hectare fire, 47 kilometres north of Yellowknife.

"The fire is out of control, but it sounds like the [crews] are getting a handle on that one," said Olsen.

Another five hectare fire is being fought 37 kilometres northeast of the capital, near Bliss Lake. That fire is about 10 kilometres from a number of cabins and Highway 4, also known as the Ingraham Trail.

According to Olsen, "there is no threat to any community or property [in the North Slave] at this time."

"There's been some really good work done from the crews and aircraft on these fires, so if that continues there really isn't expected to be a significant risk at all."

Late Tuesday afternoon a new three-hectare fire was reported about 16 kilometres from Lutselk'e.

Four additional fire crews are being brought to the North Slave region from other parts of the N.W.T. to help with the firefighting as hot, dry and windy conditions are expected to continue over the next few days.

A fire ban implemented in the City of Yellowknife on Thursday remains in place. On Monday, that ban was expanded to include Fred Henne Territorial Park and the Yellowknife River Day Use Area.

As of Tuesday, 76 fires have burned 24,538 hectares of forest in N.W.T. so far this season. That number is down from this time last year, when 181 fires had been reported that burned 237,000 hectares of forest.

now