Fire that closed highway is ‘out of control’: Minister

This photo of a fire near High Level, AB was taken late in May

According to the Minister of Infrastructure, there’s still no word on how long the highway between Enterprise and High Level will be closed.

Wally Schumann told fellow MLAs at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday afternoon that his department has been in constant contact with its counterparts in Alberta to keep an eye on the fires that closed the highway.

And right now, those fires are apparently “out of control”.

“If this road is closed for any significant amount of time, the residents in the South Slave road system that are impacted by food delivery and fuel delivery could be significant,” said Schumann.

Schumann’s fellow Hay River MLA R.J. Simpson asked what resources have been given to motorists since the highway closure.

The minister added that the Government of the Northwest Territories has supplied washroom facilities at the barricade going south.

The Department of Infrastructure is also in talks with the community of Enterprise to use the senior centre as a meeting point for stranded motorists but didn’t mention how many there were.

The highway has been closed since Tuesday afternoon due to a wildfire at Steen River, Alberta.

The rail system has also been closed for more than a week, severing fuel shipments to the territory.

Schumann says his department has been speaking with CN, which says the rail line has not been affected by the fires so far.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com