Smoke warnings across NWT as fires loom on horizons
A range of NWT regions face smoke advisories heading into the weekend with some wildfire plumes clearly visible from communities.
As of 12:30pm on Friday, smoke advisories were in effect for Yellowknife, Fort Good Hope, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Kakisa, Norman Wells, Tulita and Wrigley.
“Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility, due to elevated values of fine particulate matter,” Environment Canada’s advisory read.
A fire on the Yellowknife horizon contributing to smoke in the city is ZF009, a fire across the North Arm of Great Slave Lake that has been burning since June. A large plume from that fire could be seen clearly on Thursday evening.
Fire ZF075, discovered about 10 km west of the city on Thursday, is also contributing to the haze according to the NWT government’s wildfire information team.
A crew spent the night fighting that fire, NWT fire information officer Jessica Davey-Quantick said by email, and an air tanker has been drafted in to help. The fire was last reported at 0.4 hectares in size.
“We’ve had several fires in the area as well as wind pushing smoke from fires farther afield,” Davey-Quantick wrote. “With the hot, dry winds we’ve been having across most of the territory, existing fires are becoming more active – it’s essentially like blowing on a campfire.”
A large plume visible from Fort Smith on Thursday is attributed to fire SS069, approximately 38 km northeast of the town. That fire is now more than 3,000 hectares in size.
Davey-Quantick said that fire had “received limited action with two tanker missions.”
“Crews are aware of values in the area and have set up sprinkler kits on four cabins to protect them,” she wrote.
In Fort Simpson, the NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources warned on Thursday of smoke and ash as changing winds drove smoke into the community.
“Winds today are expected to be variable or from the southwest,” Davey-Quantick said on Friday of Fort Simpson’s forecast.
“At this time there is no risk to the community, but they may continue to experience some smoke and ash.”
The fire in question is FS009, which is about 60 km northwest of Fort Simpson and some 25 km from Highway 1.
The NWT government said on its website that fire, more than 2,100 hectares in size, is “active due to high winds and dry conditions in the area and caused many reports.”
“After the successful protection of a cabin in the area, more values protection is going up on cabins near this fire,” the territory stated.