Cabin owners in Reid Lake area warned of advancing wildfire

Fire ZF-014 could threaten cabins near Reid Lake if it continues moving westward. Photo: NWT Fire.
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Cabin owners in the Reid Lake area, 50 kilometers east of Yellowknife, are on alert today because of an approaching wildfire.

Property owners in the area have been notified of the advancing fire and told they may have to leave on a moment’s notice.

The fire, which is being called ZF-014 by the GNWT, started in late June near Harding Lake. It’s since spread to the Reid Lake area and grown to nearly 20,000 hectares in size.

Of the roughly 50 fires burning in the territory Tuesday, it was the only one being actively fought.

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Six firefighting crews, three helicopters and air tanker support are trying to keep it from spreading west of Reid Lake.

By Tuesday afternoon, the fire was burning within six kilometers of the campground at Reid Lake Territorial Park, which prompted officials to issue an evacuation notice on Wednesday morning.

The Ingraham Trail was also closed between the campground at Reid Lake and Tibbitt Lake.

Read: Evacuation Order Issued For Reid Lake Campground

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, territorial duty officer Mike Gravel said cabin owners in the area can do themselves a big favour by firesmarting their property.

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“Every cabin’s risk is based on its own situation with the materials it’s built from, the amount of vegetation around their cabin and the amount of work done to remove vegetation around their cabin,” he said.

“That’s all going to influence how the fire behaves.

“If people are concerned about their cabins they should take measures to firesmart their property. If they haven’t taken measures to fire-smart their property, then they have reasons to be concerned.”

People can firesmart their property by removing any deadfall, limbing trees up and taking out some of the ground cover in the area for starters. To find a full guide, click here.

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Read: Extremely Dry Conditions Prompt Another Fire Ban In Yellowknife

Gravel says fire danger in Yellowknife and the surrounding area is extreme, and conditions might not improve anytime soon.

“The forecast doesn’t look favourable. It’s very hot and dry and the relative humidity is going down,” he said.

“The lower the relative humidity goes down the easier it is for things to burn. Over the next few days with the winds that are forecast and the high temperatures, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Gravel says burnout operations are being planned in a number of areas. Direct attacks may be performed in areas between water sources but Gravel says an attack of the entire fire would be impossible given its size.

“We’re just looking at strategic locations so that we can prevent the fire from moving west of Reid Lake,” he said.

Gravel told reporters the fire season tends to slow down around this time of year.

Recently, the territory sent support personnel and one aircraft to Oregon to help with firefighting efforts there.

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