A wildfire outside Yellowknife is now almost a thousand hectares in size after strong winds encouraged its growth on Thursday and Friday.
The fire, 42 km northwest of Yellowknife near Awry Lake, “grew substantially” to 941 hectares by Friday lunchtime, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) spokesperson stated – up from 260 hectares a day earlier.
A plume of smoke from the fire, dubbed ZF-024, was visible from Yellowknife. The fire began following a lightning strike on Wednesday.
An initial attack with air tankers on Thursday failed to contain the fire. A dedicated incident management team, based in Yellowknife, has since been planning how to limit its growth.
The fire is within five kilometres of transmission lines between Yellowknife and the Snare hydro system, but is no closer to threatening those power lines, both ENR and the NWT Power Corporation said.
No cabins, communities, or other infrastructure are in any danger at present.
While the fire is growing rapidly and out of control, an area of recent burn from the severe 2014 wildfire season exists to the south. Officials expect this burn area to slow the fire’s southerly progress and prevent it from reaching Highway 3.
Meanwhile, another lightning-caused fire 80 km east of Yellowknife, near Watta Lake, has grown to 150 hectares in size.
Ground crews, helped by air tankers, were working to contain the fire.
Four new wildfires have been identified southwest of Wekweètì, while three new fires have started in the South Slave.
One of these, a small fire on Vale Island in the Hay River, is believed to have started after an abandoned campfire ignited brush. Wildfire crews helped Hay River’s fire department bring it under control.
Work is ongoing to extinguish the fire and an investigation has started.