A false-colour Sentinel-2 satellite image shows fire FS001 burning on May 26, 2023. The airstrip at Sambaa K'e is visible to the right of the lake's southern tip at the top of the image.
A wildfire burning 40 kilometres south of Sambaa K’e was sending heavy smoke toward the Dehcho community on Saturday afternoon, the NWT government said.
In a 3:30pm update, the territory’s wildfire agency said crews were “setting up protections for both the community and assets at Island Lake” as the fire, FS001, grew to nearly 10,000 hectares in size.
Satellite hot-spot maps show the fire is burning on both sides of the NWT-BC border and surrounds a stretch of a tributary of the Petitot River, which ultimately flows into the Liard River at Fort Liard, though the fire is well away from that community.
The fire was caused by a lightning strike two weeks ago.
“Crews are setting up sprinklers for value protection on the assets at Island Lake and working with Sambaa K’e to set up fuel breaks around the community. The fire is being monitored closely,” the territorial government states on its wildfire updates webpage.
More than 30,000 hectares of the NWT have been burned by wildfires so far this season, a point not reached until the end of June last year and mid-July in 2021.