Kátł’odeeche couple recovering from wildfire ‘one day at a time’

James and Carol Dixon lost their home in the wildfire that tore through the Kátł’odeeche First Nation reserve last month. (Carla Ulrich/CBC)

‘It wasn’t the same reserve that I had seen on the 13th of May’

James and Carol Dixon’s home is now “nothing but a pile of ashes.”

The pair live on the Kátł’odeeche First Nation (KFN) reserve and their home is one of an estimated 18 buildings that were lost in a wildfire that swept through the community.

“Nobody expected part of the reserve to burn down and lose everything,” said James.

The Dixons evacuated to Yellowknife along with many residents on May 14, where they spent weeks waiting to go home and see the destruction left by the fire.

On Tuesday, after three and a half weeks of waiting, KFN Chief April Martel said residents could return to the community near Hay River, N.W.T.

“It wasn’t the same reserve that I had seen on the 13th of May,” said Carol.

She added that many of the homes that were lost belonged to elders in the community.

The Dixons saved a blanket printed with images of their grandchildren. (Carla Ulrich/CBC)

Like many others, this is the second year in a row that the Dixons had to leave their home due to disaster. Their house was flooded last spring.

“You can get over water but you could never get over fire,” said Carol. “Fire can go anywhere as it can take anything it wants to take.”

The pair remembered to take some sentimental belongings with them when they evacuated, including family photos and a blanket with pictures of their grandchildren. Still, they left behind many mementos as they were only expecting to be gone for a few days.

James says they appreciate the help they received while in Yellowknife, from food to mental health support. They also had a room lined up for them at the North Country Inn when they went back to Hay River this week.

Damage assessments are ongoing and leadership has said it’s working at how best to get replacement homes for community members.

But for now, “Just take one day at a time,” says James.

-Written by Francis Tessier-Burns with files from Carla Ulrich

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Sambaa K’e burn could fit Yellowknife 24 times, part of ‘alarming’ wildfire season, CBC News

Norway: Smoke from Canadian wildfires forecast to reach Norway, The Associated Press

Russia: New NOAA report finds vast Siberian wildfires linked to Arctic warming, The Associated Press

SwedenHigh risk of wildfires in many parts of Sweden, including North, Radio Sweden

United States: Wildfires in Anchorage? Climate change sparks disaster fears, The Associated Press

CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *