Wind pushing fast-growing Awry Lake fire northeast

Last modified: July 21, 2019 at 2:36pm

A wildfire northwest of Yellowknife grew again to 2,400 hectares in size as of Sunday afternoon, with southwesterly winds expected to push the fire to the northeast.

The fire remains some 40 km from the city, where residents have been uneasily gazing at the distant smoke plume.

However, no cabins or communities are currently at risk and conditions are not expected to push the fire, known to officials as ZF-024, toward the city for the foreseeable future.


Separately, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a wildfire smoke-related air quality advisory for Yellowknife on Sunday.

“ZF-024 has increased to 2,400 hectares in size and is still out of control,” the territorial Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Sunday afternoon.

“Ground crews arrived at the fire yesterday and will be deployed again today if safe to do so.

“Crews are building helicopter landing pads and marshalling resources to the fire.”

The department said the forecast for the days ahead remained hot and dry with “minimal precipitation expected.”


In response to the wind direction, crews are trying to burn off an area of trees to the east and northeast of the fire with a view to containing it.

The department said there remained “no immediate threat to values at risk in the area” and “no threat to the community” of Yellowknife.

Fire danger in the North Slave remains extreme. A separate, small fire broke out briefly on Yellowknife’s Tin Can Hill on Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, Environment and Climate Change Canada said wildfire smoke – most of it from fires in northern Alberta – was “giving poor air quality to Yellowknife.”


Fort Smith is under a similar advisory, in which residents are warned to expect “symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.”

The air in Yellowknife received an 8/10, or high risk, grade on the air quality health index as of 2pm on Sunday.

That high-risk rating was forecast to remain in place overnight, reducing to a 5/10 or moderate risk by Monday.