Small wildfire erupts in Hay River

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A small wildfire was spotted on June 19 on Vale Island, close to West Point First Nation and the West Channel residential area.

The battle against the blaze was taken on by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

A water bomber was part of the initial attack on a small wildfire spotted on Vale Island on June 19.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Meagan Wohlberg, the manager of public affairs and communications with ENR, said the response included an air tanker, a helicopter and a fire crew of seven.

Wohlberg said the wildfire was about a half-hectare when it was spotted on the afternoon of June 19, and it had not changed in size when it was considered held as of 11:15 a.m. on June 20.

“It stayed around a half a hectare,” she said.

A hectare is a square with sides measuring 100 metres.

By June 20, the fire crew was mopping up the scene of the fire in a wooded area south of the Mackenzie Highway.

Wohlberg noted the air tanker and helicopter were just involved in the initial attack on the fire on June 19.

The aim is to get to any fire before it has a chance to grow, she explained. “Especially when it’s that close to values at risk, that close to the community and property. We wanted to make sure to initial attack that so that it didn’t have a chance of growing.”

The fire hazard level on June 19 was extreme in Hay River area.

Wohlberg said it is believed that the fire was caused by lightning.

ENR responded quickly to the scene, although Wohlberg did not have an estimate of the response time.

“We do have a lot of resources located in the South Slave right now just because of the fire danger levels,” she noted.

The Hay River Fire Department also initially responded to the scene.

“Once it was determined that it was a wildfire, our resources are better equipped to handle that type of situation,” said Wohlberg.