Highway 3 closed between Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ overnight after an emergency alert on Friday ordered the evacuation of an area between the two communities.
By 7am on Saturday, drivers who slept in their vehicles overnight reported being allowed through roadblocks to complete their trips.
But a warning remained that the highway could close again at any time. Updates are being posted by the NWT’s Department of Infrastructure.
An alert sent to residents late on Friday evening ordered anyone at a cabin or home on Highway 3 between kilometres 276 and 290 to immediately seek safety in either Yellowknife or Behchokǫ̀.
The NWT government had warned earlier on Friday that people with homes or cabins in the area should “be on alert and ready to leave on short notice.”
The territory’s wildfire agency said sprinklers have been set up on all structures on the affected stretch of the highway, with fire ZF015 expected to reach Highway 3 overnight.
“The incident management team continues to action the fire on the ground and in the air at every opportunity to protect structures and prevent growth towards Behchokǫ̀,” the agency said in a statement.
On Saturday, that statement continued, favourable winds from the south are forecast to slow the fire’s growth.
The fire, caused by lightning at the end of June, had burned approximately 27,598 hectares when it was last mapped.
A small lineup of vehicles built at the Behchokǫ̀ side of the roadblock overnight, including semi trailers and one driver who said they were trying to reach Yellowknife for help with a medical issue.
The driver said pylons were moved aside at 7am to allow vehicles through after an overnight wait on the road.