Nahanni Butte residents return safely from Acho Dene Koe

Photo Courtesy of Marlene Matou - Nahanni Butte

Students were back to class at Charles Yohin School in Nahanni Butte on Monday, after a forest fire caused residents to flee to Fort Liard last Thursday.

Elder Leon Konisenta says rain over the weekend made their return late Saturday possible.

“It’s not too bad now because we have had lots of rain. All you can really see now is lots of smoke now,” said Elder Leon Konisenta. He says rain over the weekend made their return late Saturday possible.

Konisenta added it’s the biggest forest fire to happen near their community since the 1940’s.

Chief Peter Marcellais says they went door to door to get people out safely Thursday evening.

“We sent a boat up river and we saw where the fire was and it was getting too close so they came back with a boat and we were told it was getting close to Nahanni, it took about an hour to get everybody to clear out and get to the river and we got everyone across the river and then they took everyone to Liard,” Marcellais told CKLB on Monday.

Acho Dene Koe Chief Eugene Hope says he was surprised when a social worker told him, the community had 100 guests from the neighbouring community.

“They came in late Thursday or Friday morning and they got rooms over in the hotel here and some of them stayed with family members in the community and that was how they were put up,” explained Hope.

Hope and staff from the hamlet of Fort Liard hosted a lunch for the evacuees before most of them headed back to Nahanni on Saturday.

A fire crew and one chopper is monitoring the fire near Nahanni Butte at this time.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He covered female university soccer and volleyball in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario in 2007. He's covered politics and Indigenous stories in both the NWT and Yukon over the last 10 years.

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