The Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre in June 2021. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
“Fort Smith Rekindled,” on Saturday afternoon this week, will give residents the event many wanted: a chance to thank those who saved their town.
Residents and even town councillors had complained that, a month after residents were allowed to return home from a 37-day evacuation, nothing was being organized to bring the community together and express gratitude.
A meeting on Monday this week took place in response to that concern. Councillor Dana Fergusson shared on Wednesday an invite to a Saturday-afternoon event at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre’s outdoor space.
From 3pm till 5pm, Fort Smith Rekindled will offer a community barbecue, hot dog cookout, and an opportunity to thank the town’s “fearless firefighters, first responders, contractors and volunteers.”
A community photo will take place at 4pm, while Epechile Production will showcase a slide show of photos taken throughout the wildfire season.
Meanwhile, the “unified command” of NWT, Alberta and Parks Canada fire crews that fought the fires outside Fort Smith all summer has been disbanded.
Parks Canada is now in charge of the half-million-hectare complex of fires south of the town and partly within Wood Buffalo National Park, which continues to burn.
In a Wednesday update – its last of the season – Parks Canada said the fires were still considered “being held” and more precipitation was needed to bring the complex under control.
“One four-person crew made up of Type 1 wildland firefighters will remain in Fort Smith to monitor and action the fire, if required, over the coming weeks until significant precipitation is received.
“Once this crew departs, the fire will continue to be monitored by fire specialists over the winter months and into spring, using a combination of satellite monitoring, fly-overs and ground assessments as necessary.”