Blue skies at Norman Wells' airport. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Some parts of the Northwest Territories’ Sahtu region appear set to break temperature records this weekend, triggering a fresh plea for residents to take care with fire.
The NWT’s wildfire agency said on Friday the weather across much of the territory would be “dangerous and extraordinary” over Saturday and Sunday.
“We are calling on all northerners do their part to avoid needless human-caused fires this weekend, to avoid major challenges for our teams on the ground and in the air,” fire information officer Mike Westwick said by email.
Norman Wells could reach a high of 36C or above on Saturday, forecasts suggest. The town is already offering its municipal office as a cooling zone for residents.
If the forecast heat comes to pass, the town’s record high will be broken twice on consecutive days. Friday afternoon’s 32.6C, recorded at Norman Wells’ airport, appeared to surpass the community’s existing record of 32.2C set in 2017.
Tulita is also forecast to hit 36C, which would crush its existing record of 31.5C, also set in 2017. Fort Good Hope may also experience record-breaking heat, though the forecast in Délı̨nę is a significantly cooler 26C on the shore of Great Bear Lake.
Highs of around 30C are expected across the Dehcho, South Slave and Beaufort Delta. Parts of the North Slave will be cooler, with Yellowknife forecast to reach 26C on Saturday and 21C on Sunday.
“Record temperatures and high winds in Sahtu, Beaufort Delta, and Dehcho could lead to major growth on existing fires, new starts due to lightning, and fast growth in new starts,” Westwick wrote.
“South Slave and North Slave are also expecting record temperatures and extremely dry conditions.
“Our recommendation when facing these sorts of conditions: don’t use fire unless there are no other options for cooking or warmth. If you’re planning on burning in the yard, this isn’t a good weekend to do it.”
There were 69 active wildfires across the territory as of Friday. A string of thunderstorms significantly increased that number, which stood at 18 active fires as recently as June 27.