So far, wildfire kept from advancing into Fort Good Hope, N.W.T.

CBC North will have a live radio special on the Fort Good Hope evacuation from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. MT on Sunday. The special will be broadcast in English and Dene Kǝdǝ́. Tune in online at CBC Listen or on CBC Radio One in N.W.T.

Firefighters in Fort Good Hope took advantage of lighter winds Sunday to slow the advance of a wildfire that reached the edge of the community on Saturday. An evacuation order remains in effect for Fort Good Hope..

Mike Westwick, the territory's fire information officer, told CBC News that no structures had been damaged as of noon on Sunday, but added that fire crews are dealing with "a very serious situation."

The fire was estimated to be roughly 200 hectares in size on Saturday night but the current size of the fire is unknown.

"A big team is working very hard to protect things in Fort Good Hope," Westwick said.

"We have a fire right there and that needs to be our priority ... we're going to be working to protect that community today with everything we've got."

He said structure protections are being put up around the community and an incident management team is on the ground.

"We're just doing absolutely everything we can to protect what we can as this extreme situation unfolds," he said.

Westwick said that with no precipitation expected in Fort Good Hope for the next 72 hours, N.W.T. fire is expecting the blaze to stay very active over the next few days.

Westwick also said the fire is suspected to have started from an abandoned campfire.

More than 300 people evacuated from Fort Good Hope by Sunday morning, according to Municipal and Community Affairs spokesperson Laura Busch. She said 221 people are in Norman Wells, 12 are in Délı̨nę, and about 100 people have evacuated to a fish camp about 15 kilometres from the community.

She said only about 80 to 110 people are still in Fort Good Hope, most of whom are first responders.

As of 10:15 a.m., no further evacuation flights were scheduled to leave Fort Good Hope.

Evacuating by boat

John Tobac is a Fort Good Hope land guardian and one of the people leading the fish camp. He said that before the evacuation, they were expecting about 40 people, but there are now closer to 150 people there.

He drove five boatloads of community members to the camp on Saturday, bringing his last boatload of evacuees in at around 2 a.m. on Sunday.

In the beginning, it was kind of chaotic, he said. "Because people, it was something they've never experienced before."

Fort Good Hope resident Rose McNeely and 15 members of her extended family left the community by boat last night.

"I started thinking about my house, that's the main thing," she said.

McNeely, her family and their pets are now waiting it out at their cabin downstream of the community.

"I feel safe, really safe," she said. "The fire was so close to the community.

"My cat is scared. It's a new place for the cat so the cat is hiding somewhere."

McNeely said she doesn't remember anything like this happening in her community.

"We're up high so we could see the smoke from the town and then it moved right to the community. It was really black when it came more toward the community," she said.

About 300 people have evacuated as a burns close to the community of Fort Good Hope, N.W.T.
About 300 people have evacuated as a fire burns close to the community of Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. (Thelma Tobac/Facebook )