The sun, shrouded in smoke, is seen behind Yellowknife's Northwestel Building on September 22, 2023. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Yellowknife residents sick of the smoke will be hoping for a gulp of fresh air this weekend, but the forecast is mixed at best.
Aside from Wednesday this week, which brought a merciful day of clean air, the territorial capital has continued to endure day after day dominated by wildfire smoke.
Friday was Yellowknife’s 15th September day this year at the very worst end of the Air Quality Health Index.
Forecasting wildfire smoke is a tricky science, not helped by the impossibility of predicting where a new fire might emerge, but existing models suggest Yellowknife’s air could clear up a little this weekend.
On Saturday, models suggest a southwesterly wind could push most of the smoke east of Yellowknife by the afternoon – but it’s a close call, and it’s equally likely that relatively poor air stalls over the city for most of the day.
Sunday morning will be smoky, the models project, but the air quality may slowly improve as the day goes on. Expect rain, too, which may complicate the air quality picture.
By Monday morning, cleaner air should push in from the north and northwest. If the forecast holds and there are no new fires, Yellowknife could have a cloudy but clear day.
For much of the South Slave, the forecast suggests it’ll be hard to avoid smoke this weekend. Fort Smith, if it’s lucky, may get a break from the smoke depending on wind direction.
Again, by Monday, the change in wind could be enough to give South Slave communities some clean air, too.
In the Dehcho, Sahtu and Beaufort Delta, your weekend should be largely smoke-free by comparison.