Fire bans lifted in North Slave as rain slows wildfires

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Rain over the past 24 hours has helped to slow the growth of two wildfires near Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀.

The Marian Lake fire, which began earlier this week near Behchokǫ̀, grew a little to 163 hectares according to an update from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Friday.

The department said crews fighting the fire have now contained 70 percent of its perimeter – meaning, in those areas, the fire is being held within fire breaks firefighters have established.

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Those crews are now focusing on the side of the fire facing Behchokǫ̀. The fire remains 12 km away, with a river channel acting as a natural break in between the two.

In Friday's update, the territorial government reiterated the wildfire “is not an immediate threat to the community or cabins in the area.”

Similarly, wet conditions have dampened the spread of the Awry Lake fire 41 km northwest of Yellowknife. Satellite imagery on Friday showed few new hotspots in the region.

The fire does not pose any current danger to the city, though crews have installed precautionary sprinklers on an NWT Power Corporation emergency shelter in the area.

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The Awry Lake wildfire has been burning since July 17, when it was caused by a lightning strike. The fire is currently 3,555 hectares in size.

Friday's rain saw the fire risk in the Yellowknife and North Slave area reduced to "low" by the territorial government.

On Friday afternoon, the City of Yellowknife lifted its fire ban and said the same applied to the Fred Henne and Yellowknife River territorial parks within city limits.

"The open-air burning ban has been lifted ... effective immediately. If extremely dry forestry conditions return, the ban will be reinstated," the City said in a statement.

"Please burn responsibly and ensure your fire is cold before leaving."

Ollie Williams contributed reporting.

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