Yellowknife could take another big gulp of wildfire smoke on Saturday, forecasts suggested, as Highway 1 to Alberta reopened.
On Friday morning, the Alberta government announced all traffic can now resume using Highway 35, which becomes Highway 1 at the NWT border.
A wildfire in the area closed the highway earlier in the week. It reopened to essential goods vehicles heading northbound on Thursday.
Meanwhile, projections on the Firesmoke website show smoke from northern Alberta fires gathering over the North Slave from the early hours of Saturday, reaching a peak at around 6pm to 7pm.
Air quality could be similarly grim in Hay River, Fort Smith, and other South Slave communities for much of Saturday.
The Dehcho should suffer a little less on Saturday but could get a blast of smoke on Friday evening as the wind changes.
The smoke is being produced primarily by a series of northern Alberta wildfires – including the Chuckegg fire outside High Level and the fire closer to the NWT border that forced the closure of the NWT-Alberta highway earlier in the week.
A fire to the east of Trout Lake will make a smaller contribution to the weekend smoke, as will fires to the west and south of Fort Liard.
As of 10:45am on Friday, no air quality advisories had been put in place for the weekend.
In Alberta, thick smoke enveloped Edmonton on Thursday and a special air quality warning was issued by Calgary on Friday.