NWT fire crews ‘ready to deploy’ despite slow start to season

An aerial shot of the wildfire that broke out near Madeline Lake May 14. Photo courtesy: NWT Fire on Facebook
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The slow start to the territory’s wildfire season has allowed firefighters to help with suppression efforts in other jurisdictions while taking part in more specialized training at home.

According to the GNWT, five fires have burnt a total of eight hectares since the beginning of wildfire season on May 1. Outside of a small fire in the Sahtu region, no activity has been reported in the past seven days.

Read: Madeline Lake fire ‘under control’ outside Yellowknife

“It’s been a below-average start to our fire season which we’re thankful for,” said Mike Gravel, territorial duty officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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“There’s no ongoing fires that we’re actioning in the territory. This has allowed us to help out our partners in Alberta with the above-average start they’ve had to their fire season.”

By the end of the week, 52 firefighters who were deployed to Alberta in recent weeks will be back in the territory. Gravel says an additional 24 will remain in the province for “another 10 days or so.”

Meanwhile, crews stationed in the NWT have been conducting fitness and equipment tests in preparation of the season ahead. Others are ready and waiting to be called to action.

“Even though we haven’t had fires, we still have to maintain a level of preparedness so some of the crews will be on standby in the event that we do have a fire call,” said Gravel.

“They’ll be ready to deploy and take quick action. We’ve got lots of fire season still ahead of us.”

Forecasters are calling for warm and dry conditions throughout much of the NWT into July.

As of Wednesday morning, the risk of fire danger was high to extreme in the North Slave and Dehcho regions, moderate in the Sahtu and South Slave regions and low in the Inuvik region.

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