Temperatures in the southern region of the Dehcho are expected to climb to highs of 29C to 32C with overnight lows of 14C on Friday and Saturday.
Those temperatures, alongside a forecast high of 27C on Sunday, triggered a heat warning for Nahanni Butte, Sambaa K’e, Fort Liard, and Fort Simpson.
Environment Canada issues heat warnings when temperatures could pose a risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Young children, Elders, those who are pregnant, and people with chronic illnesses are urged to use caution while working or exercising outdoors in extreme heat.
With warm weather and little rainfall expected for the area, residents are urged by the NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) to use care when having open fires heading into the long weekend.
Josyln Oosenbrug, a spokesperson for ENR, said there are currently no fire bans for territorial parks in the NWT other than those within Yellowknife’s city limits.
The department provided some best practices while out on the land:
- Visit http://www.nwtfire.com or call your local ENR office to check the fire danger level in your area before heading out on the land.
- When it’s warm and dry as it is right now, it’s important for people to use extreme caution with fire. This includes campfires, cigarettes – even off-road vehicles, like ATVs, which can start a wildfire in tall grass.
- If you’re heading out on the land right now, try and avoid using a campfire unless absolutely necessary for cooking or warmth. Fires are hard to control when it’s windy, and spread much more easily under hot and dry conditions.
- If you’re planning to clear brush, grass, or leaves from around your home or cabin, you need a permit to burn. Burn permits are free and available at your local ENR office. Contact your local municipal office for information on permits to burn within municipal limits. Don’t burn when it’s windy or dry, and always have water and hand tools available to keep the fire from spreading.
While out camping, after you’ve broken camp, ENR suggests the following for fire safety:
- When camping in territorial parks or other recreation areas always use the campfire pits provided.
- If you are out on the land and you must use a campfire, build your campfire away from flammable materials such as tents, trees, and buildings, and make sure there are no overhanging tree branches. Dig a pit down into the mineral soil. The best fire pits have sand or gravel bottoms.
- Avoid building a fire under strong winds that could blow embers out of the pit. Choose a sheltered area, if possible, keep the fire small, and keep a pail of water and shovel nearby.
- Never leave your campfire unattended.
- Ensure your campfire is completely out before leaving. The ashes and coals should be cool enough to touch. If they are still too hot, then it’s not safe to leave.
- To put out the fire, start by pouring water until no flames are visible. Stir the pile with a stick or shovel and add more water. Keep stirring and adding water until no smoke is visible and the campfire is completely out. It’s safe to leave once you can hold your hand over the coals and feel no heat.
- Don’t let carelessness be the cause of a wildfire. If you are found responsible for starting a wildfire, you could face a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to two years, or both. In addition, if you’re found guilty in a court of law, you could be responsible for all expenses incurred controlling and extinguishing the fire, as well as damages caused by the wildfire.