Where’s the smoke over Yellowknife coming from?

Anyone venturing outside in Yellowknife on Thursday evening will have noticed a layer of smoke falling over the city.

According to the NWT government’s latest wildfire update and BlueSky Canada, a smoke forecasting service, the smoke is being produced by fires burning to the north of the city.

Smoke forecasts show a north wind blowing smoke south from fires named ZF003 and ZF008 by the territorial government. ZF003 is near Awry Lake, east of Behchokǫ̀, while ZF008 is farther north toward Wekweètì, near Ghost Lake.


The closest fire to Yellowknife remains ZF011, a lightning-caused fire 40 km southeast of the city.

ZF011 has grown to 65 hectares since it was declared out of control on Wednesday. It was one of three lightning-caused fires initially reported in the vicinity of Defeat Lake. The other two have since been declared out.

Air quality in Yellowknife was on Thursday evening 9.8 times the World Health Organization’s annual air quality guideline value according to readings from the NWT Air Quality Monitoring Network. At that level, people sensitive to poor air quality are advised to wear a mask if heading out. Residents can close windows or run an air purifier if possible, and ordinary advice is to avoid outdoor exercise in these conditions.

Yellowknife has been under a fire ban since June 9. The NWT government’s fire danger forecast continues to show an “extreme” risk in the region for the next two days.