Winds may push Fort Liard forest fire closer to Highway 7

An aerial view of a fire outside Fort Liard, posted to the NWT Fire Twitter page on June 20, 2018
An aerial view of a fire outside Fort Liard, posted to the NWT Fire Twitter page on June 20, 2018.

Officials expressed concern on Wednesday as conditions threatened to push a forest fire closer to Highway 7 and in the direction of Fort Liard’s local dump.

The fire, currently measuring around 100 hectares, is believed to have been started by a lightning strike and was first reported on Tuesday.

A map of active fires in the NWT showed the wildfire around 20 km east of Fort Liard, but considerably closer to Highway 7 – one of two highways connecting the NWT to southern provinces.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs issued a public safety notice on Wednesday afternoon, telling residents: “Conditions are considered extreme and winds are expected to change later today to come from the northeast, pushing smoke and the fire toward Highway 7 and the solid waste facility.”



Smoke from the fire could reduce visibility in the area and lead to road closures. The Department of Infrastructure said it was monitoring the situation, while emergency managers are in contact with the community of Fort Liard to share updates on the wildfire as it develops.

The fire danger forecast for the area is extreme and an Environment Canada heat warning for Fort Liard remains in effect. Temperatures are set to reach a baking 34C on Thursday, though the forecast suggests showers could emerge by Friday.

In its most recent wildland fire update, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the fire is not currently a threat to any property or residents.

There are six active wildfires across the territory as of 3pm on Wednesday – three in the Sahtu and lower Beaufort Delta west of the Mackenzie River, and three in the Dehcho. The North Slave has yet to record a wildfire this summer.

Searing temperatures in the South Slave have pushed much of the region back up to an extreme level of fire danger, following a week of rain. In the North Slave, only Behchoko is rated extreme, while Yellowknife sits at a high threat level. All areas of the Dehcho are rated extreme.