PHOTOS: Birch Lake Complex, Northwest Territories

Reader D. Cote with Yukon Wildland Fire Management sent us impressive photos of the South Slave fire, one of four massive fires burning in Canada’s Northwest Territories area. The Birch Lake Complex has burned more than 530,000 acres. Read his account below.

D. Cote, Yukon Wildland Fire Management
D. Cote, Yukon Wildland Fire Management

“(The fire) made a major run on the afternoon of July 14th with estimated spread rates of 150 – 200 meters a minute. With a 10 km flame front bearing down on the staging area the ignition team pulled off a ‘Hail Mary’ burn out (heli-torch, lower left in photo) which managed to save the (communications) tower, fire lookout tower and cabin as well as all the heavy equipment…

The fire is SS (South Slave district – NWT) #20, one of four fires in the Birch Lake Complex, which is over 220,000 hectares ( + or – 530,000 acres). (South Slave) alone is 125,000 hectares or so…The day the fire made that run was 36 C (97 F) with a 17% RH. Pretty exceptional for this part of the world.  Fire behavior analysts on the incident clocked the spread rates of any where from 150 to 200 meters a minute  (a meter is roughly one yard).”
 

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