A popular fishing lodge outside Yellowknife has burned to the ground after being consumed by a wildfire Friday night.
The wildfire was first detected on Thursday night near kilometer 56 along the Ingraham Trail. Since that time it has grown to nearly 6,500 hectares in size and has been classified as out of control.
“We have had so many good memories over the last 34 years we have owned Namushka,” read a Facebook post from the lodge’s owners.
“It’s hard to even think that it is actually gone even though I have walked through its ashes. My mom said it best when she said it’s like losing one of your family members.”
The self-catered fishing and outdoor adventure lodge had operated since 1968 roughly 53 kilometers east of Yellowknife. The lodge, which could accommodate 14 guests, was accessed by air.
A wildfire threatened the building last year as well, but in the end efforts to save the structure were successful.
Extreme fire behaviour expected into Sunday
A shift in wind direction Friday resulted in extreme fire behaviour in the area, ultimately dooming the lodge.
According to the territorial government, winds from the north directed flames away from the Ingraham Trail towards Harding Lake where the building was located.
Heavy winds also forced air crews to be grounded Friday night. Officials say another value was also lost because of the fire.
On Thursday night, Camp Connections and Reid Lake Territorial Park were both evacuated and the Ingraham Trail was closed to traffic at kilometer 49.
Crews, including 20 firefighters from outside the territory, are still working to protect those values and others in the area.
The territorial Department of Environment and Natural Resources says 151 wildfires have been reported this year, burning almost 100,000 hectares of land. 19 of those fires have been reported in the past 48 hours.
Fire bans have been implemented at all North Slave campgrounds, where fire danger remains high to extreme.