Extreme risk of wildfires in many areas

This image of wildfire ZF002, south of Behchoko, was uploaded by NWT Fire on 10 June, 2015
A shot of wildfire ZF002, south of Behchoko. (Supplied by NWT Fire.)
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Many areas of the territory are at an extreme risk of wildfires breaking out, as the heatwave that’s sent temperatures rocketing upwards continues to hover over the NWT.

There are eight active wildfires in the territory. While no communities are currently at risk, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the department is warning people against starting fires unless it’s needed for food or warmth because of the increased risk fires have of spreading.

Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ are both at an extreme risk of having a wildfire break out today. Those ratings are set to lower tomorrow, but Yellowknife will again be at an extreme risk of a wildfire breaking out on Canada Day.

Four wildfires are currently burning in the North Slave region, with one within three kilometres of Behchokǫ̀. That one was started by lightning. Another is around 250 hectares in size, and is being monitored to make sure it doesn’t spread near any property.

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There aren’t currently any wildfires burning in the South Slave region, but the region is at an increased risk.

Hay River, Fort Smith, Fort Providence and Enterprise will all be at an extreme risk of wildfires breaking out tomorrow, as temperatures peak on Wednesday with Fort Smith set to reach temperatures of 41 degrees on Wednesday.

The Dehcho is currently the only region that does not have a community rated at an extreme risk for wildfires, but there is already a wildfire burning from earlier in the month, caused by lightning.

That fire is out-of-control, according to ENR, who says there are five fire crews and an air team currently trying to tame the fire.

ENR says residents should avoid starting a fire unless it is needed for cooking or warmth and make sure it is fully out before you leave.

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