TULITA, N.W.T. – The Northwest Territories government says several cabins near Tulita have likely been destroyed by a wildfire burning in the area.
In a special wildfire bulletin on Saturday, the territory’s wildfire agency says photos and reports of structure losses at 12 Mile have been circulating.
It says it has been unable to verify the losses as visibility has made travelling to the sites unsafe.
Tulita Elder David Etchinelle says 10 buildings have been affected, including seven cabins.
He says conditions continue to be smoky and several community members have been evacuated to Deline.
N.W.T. Fire says it is working with the community and those affected to explore assistance through the territory’s Harvesters’ Fire Damage Assistance Program.
The wildfire agency says the fire is burning about eight kilometres southeast of Tulita on the other side of the Mackenzie River. Based on satellite detection, it said the fire has likely grown beyond 140 square kilometres.
N.W.T. Fire said high temperatures and aggressive southeast winds caused the fire to move quickly and it was not able to start sprinklers on Saturday due to unsafe conditions. It said sprinklers were running on Monday to protect additional cabins in the area.
“This is a very difficult outcome for everyone affected by this loss. Our hearts go out to everyone whose property has been impacted,“ Wildfire Information Officer Mike Westwick said in a statement.
“Our commitment to people of the Northwest Territories is that we will continue doing everything we can to protect people, communities and other things people value across the N.W.T.”
N.W.T. Fire said it is monitoring a separate wildfire burning 13 kilometres east of Tulita. The wildfire agency said that fire is not considered a threat to the community as it is located east of areas that had burned from past wildfires, which act as a natural protective barrier.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2023.