N.W.T. fishing lodge survives thanks to controlled burn

Rick Olsen, duty officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says Plummer's Lodge is still standing.
Fire approaches Plummer’s Lodge on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake July 12. The lodge survived after firefighters initiated a controlled burn. (Jason Pineau/Twitter)

Plummer's Fishing Lodge on Great Slave Lake survived the weekend despite being threatened by N.W.T. wildfires.

The lodge was evacuated on Saturday morning as fires approached.

Rick Olsen, duty officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says firefighters performed a controlled burnout to protect the lodge from the encroaching fires.

“Last night, the teams from Yellowknife did an ignition around the edge of the lodge and from all accounts it went really well," he said.

"The weather was co-operating, especially in terms of wind direction. It’s thankfully one of the little successes.”

Olsen says 168 fires are still burning in the Northwest Territories.

“We still have several fires of concern including around Kakisa, the Birch Lake area, Whati, Gameti, Wekweeti, Reid Lake and fires near Colville Lake and Norman Wells,” Olsen said.

Three large fires near Birch Lake have affected Highway 3. The road is now closed between Edzo and Fort Providence and Olsen says travellers can expect disruptions to continue over the next couple of days.

The forecast is calling for some rain today, but Olsen isn’t sure that will make a big difference.

“We’d need about two inches of rain to really make a difference on some of these fires.”

A fire risk map for July 14 shows extreme conditions in most of the Northwest Territories. (Jay Scotland/CBC)

Firefighting crews from Alaska, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yukon have joined in the fight this summer. Olsen says ENR is now expecting more crews from Ontario.

The department is also relying on outside experts in fire behaviour analysis, growth modelling and ignition operations.

“In addition to that, we’ve really pulled on all our fire resources from the communities, so the local folks have been a really good help,” Olsen said.

“A lot of people have really pulled together this year to really help with this situation.”