A specialist wildfire analyst arrived from Ontario as a fire 40 km from Yellowknife once again grew on Tuesday, while firefighting reinforcements are also on the way.
Twenty Ontario firefighters are heading to help the NWT’s crews while one of the province’s fire behaviour analysts is already on the scene.
Fire behaviour analysts collect data and interpret a wildfire’s current characteristics to help predict how it will grow and decide how to fight it.
Meanwhile, a new wildfire 12 km north of Behchokǫ̀ – caused by lightning – has reached 150 hectares in size. Tankers attacked the fire as crews worked to assess it on Tuesday afternoon.
A new fire 12 km northwest of Wekweètì was also recorded late on Monday.
There was no immediate update on the status of two smaller fires near the North Slave’s Snare hydro facilities, reported earlier in the week.
Reinforcements have been requested in order to give the NWT’s crews the ability to take a break as the number of fires begins to increase significantly.
Seventeen new fires have been recorded across the territory in the past 48 hours, with temperatures in some parts of the NWT nearing record levels. Heat warnings remain in place for parts of the South Slave and Dehcho.
However, the focus remains on the fire known as ZF-024 to the northwest of Yellowknife, which – after a period of relative calm on Monday – grew by almost 1,000 hectares in the past day.
On Tuesday afternoon, authorities in the NWT said the fire now spans 3,350 hectares.
“This fire is not an immediate threat to the city of Yellowknife and remains about 41 km away,” read an update from the territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Ground crews are working on direct suppression on the east side of the fire. Burn operations to reduce available fuels and prevent fire growth to the east are planned again for today, and could result in visible smoke northwest of Yellowknife.”
The heat across much of the NWT is expected to break on Friday, with showers forecast in the North and South Slave and significantly cooler weekend temperatures predicted.
Tuesday’s temperature reached 31C in Fort Smith, matching the town’s record for July 23 of any year, set in 2010.