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Rain dampens wildfire threat from North Slave lightning

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Lightning over the past week in the North Slave has the territory’s wildfire operations team on alert for new fires – though accompanying rain has offset some of the danger.

“It hasn't been dry lightning,” said Amber Simpson, the NWT's wildfire prevention coordinator. “When there's a lot of rain with the lightning, that definitely helps.

“But if there are a few days of drying after the lightning, a fire could pop up a couple of days later.”

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Crews are taking to the air to complete smoke patrols as a precaution.

Meanwhile, the NWT is sending five more crews to Alberta to support firefighting efforts in the northern region of the province.

The fire danger forecast is currently high in Inuvik, Wekweètì, Whatì, Yellowknife, Enterprise, Hay River, and Fort Providence. It is listed as extreme in Behchokǫ̀ and Fort Smith.

Across the territory there are two fires under control, five out of control or being held, and nine being monitored. Another 24 fires are out.

The majority of the fires have been in the North Slave, South Slave, and Dehcho regions.

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As of June 25, 4,323 hectares have burned.

Down in Wood Buffalo National Park, a total of seven fires have been reported this season as of June 23 – burning 86,497 hectares.

One fire, which is being observed, is north of the NWT-Alberta border. The other six, which are classified as observed, managed, or extinguished, are in Alberta.