Parts of the Northwest Territories will remain under a state of emergency due to wildfires until at least Oct. 2, the territorial government announced on Wednesday.
This marks the second time the Government of the Northwest Territories has extended the state of emergency since it was first declared in mid-August. The order was renewed for the first time on Aug. 29.
“A territorial state of emergency was declared on August (15) and here we are a month later,” Jay Boast, information officer with the Emergency Management Organization, said during a televised wildfire update on Tuesday evening.
The extension applies to the South Slave region, where several wildfires continue to burn near the communities of Kakisa, Enterprise, Hay River and Fort Resolution. One new fire, known as “SS 078,” has grown to 15 hectares in the past 24 hours. It’s burning approximately three kilometres south of Highway One, and about 60 kilometres from the junction for the community of Fort Simpson.
The territorial government said it originally declared the state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act so it could acquire and deploy the resources needed to manage an unprecedented wildfire season and protect residents.
Officials said the extension ensures that the territory’s Emergency Management Organization can better support the territorial and community governments, as well and public agencies involved in emergency management plans and programs under the Emergency Management Act.
“What the state of emergency does is it allows us to draw on extra resources if we need it,” Boast said.
“With the fire conditions as they currently are in the South Slave (Region,) it was felt that it was prudent to be able to call upon those resources if we need them. And so that’s why the state of emergency was extended and why it was focused on the South Slave (Region.)”
Under the Emergency Management Act, Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Shane Thompson can declare a territorial state of emergency for a period of up to 14 days, and renew it if the emergency still exists.
Northwest Territories residents who have suffered damage to their property or business as a result of the wildfires are encouraged to learn about assistance that might be available to them by visiting the territorial Department of Municipal and Community Affairs’ disaster recovery website, maca.gov.nt.ca/en/services/disaster-recovery, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 867-874-2193.