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N.W.T. seeks more firefighters to battle multiple blazes | CBC News


A brief downpour just after 7 p.m. Saturday was a cause for optimism for the wildfire still burning over the N.W.T.’s Highway 3 and threatening Behchokǫ̀, but firefighters were braced Sunday for erratic weather, including possible thunderstorms.

“When you get thunderstorm cells you get winds that can get really quick, really fast, blow all over the place,” said fire information officer Mike Westwick around 8 a.m. “That’s a big safety consideration for our folks out there.”

Some 2,000 people remain out of their homes as the fire, last mapped at 113,000 hectares, remains out of control. Behchokǫ is the fifth N.W.T. community to be evacuated due to fires this year. 

Crews expect to confirm some structure losses from the fire jumping the highway, though the extent of the damage remains unclear. “There were structures lost during that,” Westwick said. 

The fire has still not crossed the Frank Channel and Highway 3 was open as of 9 a.m. Sunday. 

Meanwhile, N.W.T. has put out a general call for anyone who’s received firefighter training in the past two years, or completed a recent training session for women and non-binary people. 

An unnamed firefighter on the job Saturday. More firefighters are needed to battle this summer’s fires. (N.W.T. Fire)

Those who don’t have training are invited to call their local Environment and Climate Change office to inquire about working as drivers and cooks. 

On Saturday, a sweeping fire ban was extended to include the territory’s entire North and South Slave regions. 

The ban is effective immediately and applies to all open fires outdoors, even if they are in a fireplace, fire pit or burning barrel. No open fires are allowed at campsites or in public campgrounds, and no open stoves or grills are allowed. 

The ban also applies to fireworks, flares, pyrotechnic bear bangers, sky lanterns and firing incendiary or tracer ammunition.

Also on Saturday, people in Fort Smith received notice about a nearby wildfire. Though the fire is not currently threatening the community, the notice precedes and evacuation alert, which would be followed by an evacuation order. 


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