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Some essential services workers returning to Fort Good Hope


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In what was expected to be the last Fort Good Hope wildfire evacuation update of Sunday evening, the GNWT said it was helping arrange for some essential services staff to return to the community.

“The Regional Emergency Management Organization is supporting the Fort Good Hope Local Emergency Management Organization by organizing a charter to transport paramedics, water and sewer staff, and grocery store staff back to Fort Good Hope from Norman Wells to support essential services,” the GNWT wrote on its website.

After dropping off the essential service workers, the charter was going to pick up another six or seven evacuees in Fort Good Hope and bring them to Délı̨nę. Approximately 94 people remain in Fort Good Hope.

The wildfire, coded VQ001-24, reached the edge of Fort Good Hope sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, but no structures have been lost to date.

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The Fort Good Hope wildfire as seen from a boat on the Mackenzie River late on Saturday, June 15. Photo: Jim Tobac

“This is in part because firefighting efforts were able to hold the fire back long enough to allow levels of moisture to rise in the area as nighttime set in, meaning less intense fire activity when the fire reached the community’s edge,” said NWT Fire.

By Sunday at noon, the fire was approximately 900 hectares – up from 200 hectares on Saturday night.

Both air and ground crews are working to establish control lines along the west side of the fore to prevent it from spreading further into the community.

There are currently four fire crews working on structure protection, and more crews will be arriving soon to help with this work.

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Fire crews will also be watching for hotspots around the town and tackling them quickly, while three helicopters and four airtankers will be attacking the fire from the air.

The airtankers are dropping fire retardant and water to slow the fire’s growth.

“The weather is expected to be warm with clear skies and light winds primarily from the north. This will continue to support fire activity, but should lead to less growth than yesterday. Growth is most likely to be seen to the south,” NWT Fire said on Sunday.

“I have to say that I’m so proud of how leadership and community members and other organizations that have worked together to make things happen regardless of what little we had,” wrote Chief Collin Pierrot on Facebook on Sunday morning. 

An Incident Management Team is being mobilized from across the territory to help manage the fire.

There is an air quality alert for the community due to smoke. 

“During heavy smoke conditions, everyone is at risk regardless of their age or health. The fine particles in wildfire smoke pose the main health risk,” the advisory from Environment Canada reads.

Satellite data compiled by US government website Firms shows hotspots associated with the Fort Good Hope fire the evening of June 16.

Norman Wells and Délı̨nę hosting evacuees

Evacuation flights out of Fort Good Hope wrapped up shortly after 11pm on Saturday evening. No additional evacuation flights are planned as of mid-morning on Sunday.

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In total, the GNWT said, five planes finished 16 trips to bring 240 passengers to Norman Wells. Forty evacuees were then transferred to Délı̨nę.

“Plans to move some evacuees to Inuvik for hosting support have been stood down, as Norman Wells and Délı̨nę have been able to absorb all residents needing hosting, while others have self-evacuated to a fish camp near Fort Good Hope or other safe places throughout the Sahtu,” the GNWT updated on Sunday afternoon.

“The level of community care and support has been outstanding – and local authorities are maintaining the lead on this incident.”

Evacuees from Fort Good Hope arrived at the Norman Wells airport throughout the evening on June 15. Photo:
Kelsey Henderson

Kayla Turner, the Governance and Community Engagement Manager with the Town of Norman Wells, said the community hall was set up for 50 people and the arena can hold approximately 15 people. Turner said some evacuees were planning on staying with family members in town as well.

Prevent person-caused fires, GNWT pleads

NWT Fire’s website suggests an abandoned campfire started the wildfire, which grew rapidly throughout Saturday.

“Situations like this are a really, really important reminder as to why we constantly harp on preventing person-caused fires throughout the year,” fire information officer Mike Westwick said late on Saturday night.

Fire VQ001-24 was within 1km of Fort Good Hope by 11pm on Saturday, June 15. NWT Fire believes it was started by an abandoned campfire. Photo: Thelma Tobac

“Fires caused by people start closest to things that people care about, like communities and homes and cabins and parks and the like. So when they start, this is the kind of outcome that can happen for folks. This is the kind of consequence that can…



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