Highway 7 between Blackstone Territorial Park and Fort Simpson in August 2020. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Highway 7 in the NWT and Highway 77 in British Columbia have reopened, nearly a week after closing because of a wildfire in northern BC.
Friday’s reopening means the road link between BC and the NWT, one of only two connecting the territory directly to southern Canada, is available again.
However, Highway 77 is currently only open for certain hours according to the BC government.
A number of Yellowknife evacuees had been caught up in the road closure as they tried to return home, while the highways are an important supply line for the Dehcho region’s communities.
“Highway 7 is open to Fort Liard,” an NWT Department of Infrastructure spokesperson stated on Friday, referring to the stretch of road from the border to Fort Liard that had previously been closed. The highway from Fort Liard to Highway 1 outside Fort Simpson had remained open.
A smoke advisory is still in place, the department stated, and the highways “may close with little to no notice.”
Drive BC stated that a forest fire between the Patry Mainline access road and Maxhamish Lake Road meant Highway 77 would reopen but operate with single-lane alternating traffic in the area.
As of Friday afternoon, Drive BC stated Highway 77 was open for “essential travel only, 7am to 7pm” until further notice.
“Wildfire activity, danger tree assessment and removal in progress. Expect delays and intermittent closure if required,” BC’s highways website added.