A false-colour Sentinel-2 satellite image from June 10, 2023 shows wildfire hot spots, in orange. Sambaa K'e is in the top right of the picture. The burn area can be seen from a wildfire created when an intentional fire next to the community got out of control, while fire FS001 burns in the bottom left.
A huge wildfire burning south of Sambaa K’e is now around five kilometres away from the community, the NWT government says.
For most of the past week, fire FS001 – which has burned an area about 110 km wide at its largest – has been parked about 10 km south of Sambaa K’e, but it advanced over the past 24 hours.
Even so, the territory’s wildfire agency said favourable winds on Sunday were expected to push the fire in the other direction. It isn’t expected to reach the community on Sunday but “there remains risk that it could occur in the days ahead,” a Sunday afternoon update posted to Facebook read.
So far, the GNWT has reported the destruction of two cabins and a house related to the fire and its associated firefighting operation. There has been no report of any fresh damage for the past few days.
All buildings on Sambaa K’e’s periphery now have sprinklers, the NWT government said, and structures at Island Lake have been protected.
Elsewhere, the NWT government’s wildfire map reported a new fire around 25 km southwest of Fort Liard. After this article was first published, the territory stated that the fire – FS009 – had been caused naturally and firefighters had begun work against it. It is estimated at half a hectare in size and no cabins, communities or infrastructure are at risk.
Lightning has rolled across a vast stretch of the Dehcho, Tłı̨chǫ and North Slave over the past day or so. No new wildfires have so far been reported as a result, though there can sometimes be a delay before new fires are identified.
In Wood Buffalo National Park, an area closure around Pine Lake was expanded on Saturday to close the Pine Lake Road from Salt River Bridge to Peace Point.
A complex of 15 wildfires is being fought in the region. Fire 2, the largest of the Pine Lake fires, spent much of the weekend exhibiting extreme characteristics in hot and dry conditions, and is now slightly closer to Pine Lake than was previously the case. Fire 15, the newest wildfire in the area, is 16 km east of Pine Lake.
NWT government air tankers have been providing aerial support to Parks Canada crews. As of Sunday morning, neither Fort Smith nor Garden River were reported to be under direct threat from any of the fires.