First Nation in Fort Liard, N.W.T., looking at options to get fuel as community remains on evacuation notice

The sign for the Fort Liard General Store and Motel.  (Luke Carroll/CBC - image credit)
The sign for the Fort Liard General Store and Motel. (Luke Carroll/CBC - image credit)

As the hamlet of Fort Liard remains under an evacuation notice because of a nearby wildfire, the First Nation in the community is planning for how to get fuel into the community if roads remain closed.

In a Facebook post, the Acho Dene Koe First Nation said Fort Liard had lost cellular and internet service and efforts are being made to set up Starlink connectivity.

Acho Dene Koe First Nation band manager Boyd Clark said Starlink said will be set up for the hamlet office and other "key personnel."

Clark said getting fuel into Fort Liard given the road closures caused by fires is "always a concern during an evacuation."

He also said there was a shipment of fuel brought in before Fort Liard was put on an evacuation notice.

He also said people he's spoken to in the community seem to be less worried now than when the initial evacuation notice was issued.

"That behaviour has levelled off and people are more calm now," he said.

Clark also said he wants people to know that their family in Fort Liard are safe.

"We can reassure them that they're safe and that necessary support is occurring for them," he said.

Fire crews are working to prevent the wildfire threatening Fort Liard from further growth eastward toward the hamlet.

In an update Saturday afternoon, NWT Fire said recon was done "early this morning" which determined the fire had not crossed the Liard River on the east side, as they had previously reported, but had moved to an island.

"The fire has jumped to an island and will be actioned to try to prevent growth to the east of the river," the update said.

Westwick said that as of about 9 a.m. on Saturday, the fire was about 19 kilometres southwest of Fort Liard.

"It's still quite a serious situation... but there's no immediate threat at this time for Fort Liard," Westwick said.

"Winds are expected to be much lighter today coming from variable directions."

A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure said the hamlet is responsible for its own emergency plan, but the government can step in when needed.

"As of now, the Regional EMO remains in regular contact with the local authority and is prepared to support if a request is received."