Watch: Communities join forces for wildfire protection

Last modified: August 4, 2020 at 10:51am

Firefighting crews in Dettah, Ndilǫ, and Yellowknife are now better prepared should a wildfire encroach on the communities.

About 20 people participated in a two-day wildfire preparedness workshop hosted by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the City of Yellowknife in Dettah on July 30 and 31. 

They learned how to set up a sprinkler system to protect buildings in the event of a wildfire. 


“The class has been great, everybody I’m sure has been learning something,” said Albert Roach, owner of AS Roach Fire Services, who led the workshop. “I’m just really happy to be here.”

Workshop participants learned how to set up a sprinkler system, one tool to protect against wildfires. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

Roach explained the agricultural irrigation sprinklers can use any available water source – in this case the lake – to help dampen fuels like dried grass, twigs, or firewood that can easily ignite.

“The idea is that if the kindling doesn’t burn, the campfire doesn’t do very well,” he said. 

In the fall, crews will work on vegetation management in the communities to further reduce the threat of wildfire.


The agriculture irrigation sprinklers help dampen potential wildfire fuels around buildings to prevent them from igniting. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

Chief of Dettah Edward Sangris said the project stems from reconciliation talks between the First Nation and the city.


“This is one of the ways we work together to keep our community safe,” he said.

Chief of Ndilǫ Ernest Betsina said he hopes the project will encourage other municipalities in the territory to work with First Nations. 

The project received $176,000 in funding from the federal government’s Climate Change Preparedness in the North program, to help the communities respond to more frequent and more extreme wildfires.

The workshop is part of a collaborative project with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the City of Yellowknife. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio