Cabin destroyed as ‘extraordinary’ NWT wildfire season continues


A cabin northeast of Fort Smith has been destroyed as the Northwest Territories’ 2022 wildfire season lingers into October.

New wildfires are still being reported and the area burned has increased beyond half a million hectares, long after most summer fire seasons in the territory wrap up.

In 2020, an extraordinarily quiet season had essentially ended by the start of August. In 2021, the last update of any note for the season came on September 2.

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But on October 4, 2022, the NWT government said “extreme winds and dry conditions unusual for the season” had driven wildfire SS069, a fire near Fort Smith that has already burned some 35,000 hectares over a month and a half, to “flare up and take a significant run on the south flank.”

The owner of the cabin that was subsequently destroyed has been notified, the territory said.

“The fire continues to be active. We have dispatched a team to install structure protection, including sprinklers, surrounding other cabins in the vicinity of the fire,” a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources wrote.

“This kind of activity is extraordinary for this time of year. The NWT is facing down one of the longest periods of continuous wildfire activity in decades – with drier forests and persistently elevated temperatures.

“Fire danger is expected to remain high or extreme at all monitoring stations in the South Slave, and many stations in the Dehcho and North Slave regions over the next three days.”

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A wildfire had separately been threatening the Dehcho’s Scotty Creek research station late last week. As of Tuesday morning there was no immediate update on the station’s status.

So far this year, almost 537,000 hectares have burned in the NWT – a figure that is slightly above average though nowhere near the millions of hectares burned in particularly severe summers like 2014.

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