YELLOWKNIFE (JULY 8, 2023) – The following statement was issued by Wildfire Information Officer Mike Westwick regarding the likely loss of structures at 12 Mile near Tulita due to wildfire VQ009 on July 8, 2023:
“Photos and reports of losses at 12 Mile, approximately 9km southeast and across the river from Tulita, because of wildfire VQ009 have been circulating.
“Our team has not been able to verify these losses due to visibility making travel to these sites unsafe. However, it is likely that several cabins have been lost at 12 Mile as a result of wildfire VQ009. The extent of the loss will be assessed when conditions allow.
“This is a very difficult outcome for everyone affected by this loss. Our hearts go out to everyone whose property has been impacted.
“Our team will immediately begin working with the community and those affected to explore assistance through our Harvesters’ Fire Damage Assistance Program – which is designed to support those who have lost equipment or structures essential to traditional practices.
“These losses occurred due to two key factors.
“First, extreme conditions caused this fire to move extremely fast. High temperatures paired with aggressive southeast winds, created extreme fire weather conditions which caused the fire to blow up and race north and west towards the banks of the Mackenzie River.
“Second, it was not possible to start sprinklers today due to low visibility and unsafe conditions. The sprinklers had been installed several days ago, but are not ordinarily run consistently when fire has not approached as they can cause damage to buildings if they were.
“As a result, this wildfire overwhelmed the area and the protections installed.
“Resources are stretched given the severe fire season we are experiencing in the NWT and across Canada.
“Our commitment to people of the Northwest Territories is that we will continue doing everything we can to protect people, communities, and other things people value across the NWT.”
For more information:
Wildfire Information Officer
Government of the Northwest Territories