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Two arson incidents in Yellowknife, four people charged, two sought

Fires burning near Long Lake on the night of August 15, 2023. Photo: Supplied
Fires burning near Long Lake on the night of August 15, 2023. Photo: Supplied

A fire in the vicinity of Yellowknife’s Fred Henne park was arson, police said on Wednesday as they announced separate arson arrests on the same night.

RCMP said they had been called out twice on Tuesday evening – once to Long Lake, next to the park, and once to Burwash Drive in Yellowknife.

The incidents come as parts of Yellowknife are on evacuation alert over an oncoming wildfire, with conditions tinder-dry in the region.

A Yellowknife resident extinguished one Fred Henne fire after seeing it from the road. At least two fires were spotted next to the park on Tuesday night.

“A witness in the area reported seeing two men running from the area wearing black clothing,” police said. A police dog unit couldn’t track the suspects, no further description of the men is available and that case remains under investigation.



On Burwash Drive, police say they had a report at 11:21pm of “four females were attempting to light a fire in a small green space.”

“RCMP arrested all four and found aerosol cans and lighters in their possession and near the scene,” police stated. All four, who are youths, have been charged with arson.

“It should go without having to be said, incidents like these pose a very serious risk to our community,” Cpl Matt Halstead, an RCMP spokesperson, was quoted as saying.

“A significant fire behind the city’s line of defence could have devastating consequences and take valuable resources away from the ongoing wildfire fighting efforts that are under way.

“It is completely beyond understanding that in the face of everything going on in the territory and the threat approaching our city, that people would actively attempt to start fires and endanger our community members. The RCMP will investigate these incidents to the fullest.”