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Challenging conditions leads to fire growth in Hay River/KFN, expected to reach Highway 5 today

The KFN/Hay River fire remains out of control as of May 18th at 8:45 pm. According to NWT Fire, the blaze is estimated at 1977 hectares, up by 195 hectares since the last report at 1782 hectares.

Winds from the southeast, mixed with extremely hot, dry conditions slowed fire crews down yesterday, resulting in flareups and the fire jumping two dozer lines set up by crews in the late afternoon which sent massive clouds of smoke across the area.

“Today has been an extremely challenging day – with the situation worsening significantly in the early evening,” NWT Fire said.

NWT Fire says aggressive tanker drops and helicopter bucketing continued through the night to re-establish the lines on the Northwest flank near the Old Village on KFN, and one on the Southwest flank near Hay River.

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Despite challenges, NWT Fire says the response has been successful and structure protection continued. No additional losses were observed in KFN and no fire damage has affected Hay River yet.

According to NWT Fire, today is expected to be worse due to heavy winds shifting from north-northwest to north-northeast by this afternoon which are expected to push the fire towards Highway 5 and increase the risk of embers reaching Hay River.

“We believe there is a very good chance the fire reaches Highway 5 tomorrow,” NWT Fire said in last night’s report.

Additional resources have been ordered and a 12th crew has been established to continue the fight and watch for potential spot fires that may pop up in Hay River.

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