Dene Tha’ Elder says this is the second wildfire has pushed him from his home

Geese take-off from a pond next to scorched earth along Highway 35 and 10 km south of High Level, the Chuckegg Creek fire that is still approximately three kilometres from the town. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

One Dene Tha’ elder says this is the second time in recent memory his community of Meander River has been forced to evacuate, due to a nearby Forrest Fire.

Roy Salopree, who is well known for his Dene Drumming across the Dehcho Region is one of 25 people from his community staying at the Dene Wellness facility on the Katlodeeche First Nation in Hay River.

“We had to leave our community in 2012, but that time the fire was North of our homes,” recalled Salopree.

He said he chose to come North to Hay River, instead of going South to Slave Lake. He has family and many friends in Hay River, and says it feels just like home.

“We’re not the only one’s evacuated. People from Chateh, Bushie River, and High Level had to go on Monday. We’re scattered all over.”

Municipal firefighters continue to arrive in High Level from areas all over Alberta. As of Thursday night 154 firefighters and approximately 60 firetrucks and support units were on duty.

Municipal Firefighters and community volunteers continue to work with Alberta Wildfire firefighters on protection efforts for the Town of High Level and Dene Tha’ communities. The Chuckegg Creek wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres south of the town within Mackenzie County. The out-of-control wildfire is almost 97,600 hectares in size.

Meander River Councillor and volunteer Sidney Chambaud with five other volunteers helping out after evacuation.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Start your morning with the Splash on Denendeh Sunrise from 7:30-8:30am. Campbell was trained and mentored by longtime CKLB host and Gwich'in entertainer William Greenland. Prior to hosting the morning show and filling in on the Saturday Request Show, he had stints in the Yukon on CKRW the Rush, CBC North in Yellowknife, and began his broadcasting career at CJCD Mix 100. Before moving North he was born and raised on the banks of the Tobique River, the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik, Tobique Maliseet First Nation.