The sun is seen through a hazy Yellowknife sky in July 2023. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
In the middle of a severe wildfire season, July in Yellowknife was the equal-warmest ever recorded while also being one of the driest ever.
Despite what some longtime residents might tell you about dry summers, July in the NWT’s capital can be fairly wet. In some years, more than 10 cm of rain has fallen on the city in that time.
But this year, just 7.6 mm of rain was recorded in July at the city’s airport, where Yellowknife’s main weather station is based.
That’s the lowest figure for July since 1964.
Meanwhile, the mean temperature for the month was 19.4C, equalling a record set in 2012. Since 1953, only five times has Yellowknife’s mean July temperature broken 19C.
The pattern is similar in the South Slave – Fort Smith just recorded its driest July since 1972, with 10.1 mm of rain falling – though other regions are slightly less dry.
In the Beaufort Delta, Inuvik set a heat record by a distance in July.
The town recorded a mean temperature of 20.3C last month, a full 1.7C warmer than the previous record set in 1994. Ordinarily, the mean July temperature in Inuvik is more like 14C or 15C.
Inuvik residents are closely watching a wildfire east of the city, while Yellowknife has wildfires to its west, north and southeast.
On Tuesday, Yellowknife city councillors approved emergency spending on wildfire protections like fire breaks and sprinklers, which are being set up to the city’s west. Territorial firefighters are using a controlled burn farther west to try to keep fire ZF015 from menacing the city when the currently favourable wind direction changes.
City Hall told residents there is so far no threat to Yellowknife and the measures are precautionary.