Wildfire near Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., grows as crews work to protect community

Fire crews make their way up a slope near Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. on the weekend. (N.W.T. Fire - image credit)

A fire burning outside Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., "blew up" on Sunday, according to officials, and is now more than 5,000 hectares in size.

Wildfire information officer Frank McKay also told CBC News on Monday morning that hot, dry weather made the fire visible closer to the community on Sunday, but that it was still blowing away from the community.

"There was lots of smoke," he said.

As of Monday morning, the fire was an estimated 5,459 hectares in size, and burning to the northeast of Fort Good Hope. No structures had been lost to the fire.

McKay said the focus now is still to hold the fire back from the community. Crews are building fire barriers with a "blackline" on the perimeter. They're using hand torches to burn vegetation, dead trees and dead grass to contain the fire.

McKay said that work is almost done.

"We're close to about 80 per cent containment of the blacklining," he said.

"Today we're just going to do more of the same and it could be done by tomorrow."

McKay said the goal right now isn't to declare the fire under control.

Once the blacklining is done, the side of the fire burning near the community could be declared under control but the other half of the fire burning away from the community will be left to burn toward a 2017 burn area.

The community has been under an evacuation order for more than a week now. As for when the order could be lifted, it will be up to the leadership in Fort Good Hope and the Emergency Management Organization to decide.