Too many campfires are being left unattended, NWT Fire says

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The Northwest Territories wildfire agency says it has received “way too many reports” of campfires being left unattended this season, particularly at Yellowknife River Territorial Park.

“It is so discouraging to see this sort of thing – especially after what was experienced last year,” wildfire information officer Mike Westwick said in an email.

“While there’s very rarely malice involved in person-caused fires, the damage they can cause is very real, and the risk shouldn’t be underestimated just because there’s still some ice on some of the lakes and rivers. “They start close to things people care about, and are therefore more likely to damage things we care about.”

NWT Fire said on Monday a fire suspected to have begun over the winter due to an abandoned campfire was found about 4km southwest of Willow Lake and 10km south of Dettah. It said one fire crew and a helicopter are currently fighting the fire, which is less than one hectare in size.

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The wildfire agency has said it plans to use “prevention specialists” to try to minimize the number of fires started by humans this summer.

A fire ban is currently in place in Fort Smith while Hay River has declared a partial fire ban.

Also on Monday, NWT Fire said an overwintering fire was discovered through satellite detection burning about 7km south of the west end of Tathlina Lake. It said two fire crews and a helicopter are fighting the fire, which is approximately three hectares in size.

NWT Fire said no cabins, communities or infrastructure are currently at risk from the fires.

There are currently five active fires burning across the NWT and two fires that have been declared out this season. They have burned a total of five hectares of land.

 
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