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Wildfire update: Lightning, smoky conditions coming to southern NWT

NWT wildfire update for May 27th, 2019:

As the NWTs 136 firefighters finish up their training and the fire service starts full operations, officials say fire activity in the territory is in line with what is expected this time of year.

Twelve fires have been reported and declared out – four in the Deh Cho, three in the North Slave and five in the South Slave. All 12 are suspected to be ‘person-caused’ and as warm and dry conditions persist manager of fire operations Richard Olsen warns residents to be careful when starting campfires.

“Ensuring they pick a spot as clear of vegetation as much as possible and use rocks, and clear down to mineral soil to reduce the chance of anything spreading into the forest. And make sure your fire is totally out before you leave.”

The first fire suspected to be caused by lightning was detected Monday near the Alberta – NWT border, east of Hay River near Highway 1. Olsen says he expects more fires like this one as lightning begins in the Deh Cho and South Slave areas.

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With southerly and westerly winds expected, Olson adds these two regions could also experience thicker smoke coming from fires in Alberta and one in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Several areas in the southern NWT are under fire bans as the fire danger ranges from high to extreme. Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Fort Liard region as daytime temperatures are forecast to reach 30 degrees during the day until mid-week.

Olson says he will look at sending firefighters to help the NWT’s neighbours, including Alberta and the Yukon, if conditions cool off here.

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