A road closure on Highway 3 outside Yellowknife on July 26, 2023. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Firefighters carried out a Monday “planned ignition” operation – a burn of their own designed to remove vegetation that could be fuel for a wildfire – west of Yellowknife.
Highway 3 outside Yellowknife reopened late on Monday following the work, and remained open at first light on Tuesday.
Fire crews were hoping to use a controlled burn to get rid of some vegetation that fire ZF015, around 35 km west of Yellowknife, could use as fuel if the wind direction changes.
“Southeasterly winds are at its optimal direction for the ignition. Risk management and weather will form the decision to determine whether an evacuation order is necessary,” NWT Fire wrote at lunchtime on Monday.
“Structure protection is continuing to be set up and maintained on vulnerable cabins and homes along Highway 3.”
By 5:15pm, NWT Fire said the controlled burn was going ahead near kilometre marker 298 of Highway 3.
Meanwhile, Parks Canada said travellers on Highway 5 “may experience temporary delays and/or closures” between 4:30pm and 10pm on Monday “due to ongoing fire operations.”
That closure was likely to take place at Salt Mountain, about 25 km west of Fort Smith, Parks Canada stated.
Fire 7 inside Wood Buffalo National Park was within three kilometres of the highway earlier on Monday, though Fort Smith itself is not under threat, authorities said.