NWT research station still standing as wildfire threat recedes

A wildfire burns near Scotty Creek Research Station. Joëlle Voglimacci/Scotty Creek Research Station

A wildfire that was approaching the Dehcho’s Scotty Creek Research Station last week hasn’t yet reached the facility.

The fire’s path also appears to have shifted. “It doesn’t seem to be on the doorstep any more,” said Bill Quinton, Scotty Creek’s director, on Tuesday afternoon.

Although the fire has grown and is still roughly two kilometres away, the bulk of it is no longer moving toward the camp, Quinton said.

It’s still unclear if some scientific equipment located to the west of the research station – where the fire burned – was damaged, according to Quinton. The camp and the majority of the surrounding equipment remains intact, he said.



NWT government wildfire information officer Mike Westwick said work undertaken last week to defend the area from the fire – preventative measures like setting up sprinklers and removing trees or other vegetation near buildings, collectively known as structure protection – tends to be “very, very effective.”

“The fire has not burned up to the camp as yet and there has been no damage reported,” he told Cabin Radio.

There is still some concern that burned areas close to the research station could smoulder and re-ignite, Quinton said. He expressed shock at the fire’s size, saying it dwarfs the lake next to the camp, which is about 3.5 kilometres long.

Teams are continuing to monitor the situation. As the seasons change, Quinton is cautiously optimistic.

“It might just be running out of time,” Quinton said. “I think we’re going to be OK.”

This article is produced under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0 licence through the Wilfrid Laurier University Climate Change Journalism Fellowship.