N.W.T. had lower than average wildfire season this year, says government

N.W.T. had lower than average wildfire season this year, says government

As this year's wildfire season comes to a close in the Northwest Territories, final tallies reveal that there were less fires in 2018 than on average. 

As of Aug. 22, there were 54 fires with a total of 11,271 hectares burned, according to a news release from the territorial government. That's compared to a 25-year average of 172 fires with 402,976 hectares burned.

Due to the low level of fire danger, the release says fire crews and resources from the territory also helped respond to wildfires in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Ontario this season. That included 76 firefighters, 19 staff and three air tanker groups that travelled to B.C. and Ontario.

The Northwest Territories is a partner in the Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre and the release says it's regular practice for the government to lend resources to more active jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, crews in the territory helped ensure the future protection of communities through the FireSmart project, like brush clearing, maintenance on fire breaks and creating temporary helipads.

"I am proud of the integrity and hard work shown by our wildland fire personnel this fire season, both at home and while assisting other jurisdictions," N.W.T.'s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Robert C. McLeod said in a statement.

"Exporting crews not only provides support to our partners in dealing with heavy fire loads, but it also provides valuable experience to northerners who get a chance to work in new environments with crews from across Canada and North America."