A photo of the wildfire outside of Jean Marie River that triggered and evacuation on Sunday afternoon. Paul Thunder-Stealer/X
All evacuees made it out of Jean Marie River safely, the NWT government said on Monday, a day after an evacuation order was declared in the Dehcho community.
A wildfire “suspected to be person-caused” began about 10 km south of Jean Marie River on Sunday afternoon and has grown to 400 hectares in size, NWT Fire said on Monday morning.
The fire burned across the access road to the highway, shutting off the only ground escape route and complicating the evacuation. A communications outage across southern parts of the NWT meant no formal update from the community arrived between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Evacuees in Fort Simpson described having to wait into the evening before helicopters and aircraft could safely reach Jean Marie River to bring them to safety.
Fort Simpson is the designated host community for Jean Marie River’s 100 or so residents.
“At this time, all evacuees have left the community,” NWT Fire stated at 10:30am on Monday.
The wildfire agency said wind from the west and north was “centring fire activity around the community” and heavy equipment was being brought in. A helicopter was due to assess the fire from the air on Monday morning.
Highway 1 past Jean Marie River remained open as of 11am.