According to Chief Frank Andrew of Tulít’a, approximately 40 Elders and some vulnerable residents have evacuated Tulít’a and are on the way to Délı̨nę and Norman Wells, following a lightning struck.
The lightning ignited a fire about thirty kilometres southeast of the edge of Norman Wells and 5km north of the winter road on July 8.
Due to high smoke caused by fire, three charter flights were organized by the Hamlet of Tulít’a in collaboration with the Tulít’a Dene Band, Tulít’a Land Corporation, and Fort Norman Métis Community (FNMC), to retrieve residents.
The fire expanded rapidly due to extreme weather conditions, and is about 11,524 hectares in size, and around 10 kilometres east of Tulít’a on the opposite side of the river.
Chief Frank Andrew also confirmed the loss of several cabins around 10km east of Tulít’a, at the Twelve Mile Point.
The fire does not pose an immediate threat to Tulít’a according to NWT Fire.
Due to the rise in temperatures, Norman Wells and Délı̨nę achieved their highest recorded temperatures on Sunday, with almost 38C for Norman Wells and 31C for Délı̨nę.
Chief Andrew could not confirm the total number of residents remaining in Tulít’a, and how many fled by boat.
The FNMC shared a post on social media proposing financial help for gas for residents wishing to evacuate to Délı̨nę.
For Tulít’a residents without a boat, FNMC will provide a boat charter. To reserve a spot on the boat charter call 867-588-3201.
More to come on this developing story.