The sky while leaving Hay River on Sunday afternoon in a submitted photo.
A wildfire burning south of Hay River has been blown within 10 kilometres of the town but did not close any further on Wednesday, despite forecasts of a worse outcome.
In a short bulletin before 6:30pm, NWT Fire said the situation “has changed quickly” from earlier in the day, when the fire was 16 kilometres away, fire growth had slowed, and some helicopter bucketing had proved successful.
But later in the evening, the wildfire agency said things had “taken a turn in our favour.”
“Thanks to some lake effect pushing the fire onto itself, the column is going straight up and has stalled approximately 10 km from the community,” NWT Fire wrote.
“Air support continues along the highway and crews are in the air and monitoring the situation closely.”
Hay River has been under an evacuation order since Sunday but Mayor Kandis Jameson appealed earlier in the week for hundreds of remaining residents to leave by air. Flights out were being suspended on Wednesday through lack of people signing up for them, the town said earlier in the day.
However, by the early evening, the town said the fire was “increasing in intensity and progressing northward,” urging anyone remaining to “go to the Hay River Airport and await further instructions.”
The only highway out of Hay River has been closed since Sunday evening.