With firefighters home for the season, N.W.T. exploration company puts out forest fire

Walt Humphries was surprised to see a local prospecting company put out a forest fire near his cabin, after finding out that most of the territory's firefighters have hung up their hoses for the season.

TerraX asked to put out fire burning 75 metres away from Walt Humphries's Banting Lake cabin

Walt Humphries stands by the site of a forest fire near his cabin on Banting Lake. Humphries, who has owned the cabin for 40 years, was surprised to find out that an exploration company was tapped to put out the fire, as many of the territorial government's firefighters have been sent home for the season. (Submitted by Walt Humphries)

A Northwest Territories cabin owner was surprised to see a local prospecting company put out a forest fire near his cabin, after finding out that most of the territory's firefighters have hung up their hoses for the season.

"I was a little surprised," said Walt Humphries, who has owned his cabin on Banting Lake, north of Yellowknife, for about 40 years. "They just sort of said it's the end of the fire season, we're not doing anything."

Humphries said territorial fire officials told him about the fire, burning 75 metres away from his cabin, last Friday, explaining that TerraX Minerals, the prospecting company that called in the fire, would be dumping water on it with its helicopter.

"They were taking TerraX's word for it, that they'd put it out," said Humphries, "But would you trust a fire that close to your cabin without looking at it?"

Richard Olsen is the manager of fire operations with the department of Environment and Natural Resources. He says the bulk of firefighters are let go by the September long weekend, and at this time of year the government can either call firefighters back to the job or use other options.

"It's not something you'd normally expect in the middle of summer with different resources in play," he said. "But it's something that I thought was appropriate with the resources available."

Olsen says the government does call back firefighters if necessary. Olsen says his staff will take a look at the site within the next few days and try to determine what started the fire.

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