North

State of emergency in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., as nearby wildfire grows to 5,000 hectares

Chief and council declared a state of emergency in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., Saturday, but officials have not ordered an evacuation.

Fire crews continue fighting blaze that first began July 3

The latest fire map from July 8 shows several fires burning in the Sahtu region. (NWT Fire Live Map/ENR/GNWT)

There is a state of emergency in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., but officials have not ordered an evacuation as a wildfire continues burning 30 kilometres east of the town.

Community officials finished meeting with the territorial government shortly before noon Saturday, where they decided to continue monitoring the fire as it progresses.

The fire began July 3 after a lightning strike. In two days, it's grown from 600 to an estimated 5,000 hectares. It's one of several currently burning in the Sahtu region of the Northwest Territories.

Smoke and wind conditions were light shortly before 8:30 a.m. MT Sunday, Fort Good Hope resident Norman Pierrot told CBC News. Temperatures are forecast to top 30 C throughout the weekend.

Fort Good Hope, pop. 515, lies on the Mackenzie River in the N.W.T.'s Beaufort Delta region.
"We're monitoring, and are ready to respond at a moment's notice," said Amy Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Northwest Territories Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.  

"Right now we're just holding and waiting to see what happens," she said.

Smoke a continued concern

The community began preparing for an emergency Friday with plans in place to evacuate elders and young children if necessary.

"Community fire protections are underway, they're fire-smarting the community and [setting up] sprinklers," Kennedy said.

Several territorial departments, including the emergency measures office are watching the situation closely in case the situation changes, Kennedy said.

Six firefighting crews, helicopters and water bombers have been fighting the fire all week, with additional resources scheduled to be in the region Saturday.

The heaviest smoke may have already passed over the community Saturday morning, according to forecasts from Fire Smoke Canada, the monitoring service recommended by the territorial government.  

But models suggest smoke will continue to billow through the community throughout the weekend.  

With files from Alyssa Mosher

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