There were four active wildfires burning in the Dehcho region as of June 23, two of them having started in the previous 24 hours, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (ENR).
Fire FS005-21 was discovered during the evening of June 22, and is about 32 km north of Fort Simpson. That lightning-caused blaze is categorized as “out-of-control” and about 1.5 hectares in size.
It has received air tanker action and fire crews are working to suppress the flames.
There are cabins 13 km west of the fire but none of those cabins, infrastructure or communities was considered to be at risk at the time of the update.
The FS006-21 blaze is burning about 25.4 km north of Fort Simpson and is suspected to be lightning-caused. Fire crews were dispatched.
FS007-21 is about 80 km northwest of Fort Simpson and was also caused by lightning. Crews conducted an initial attack.
The fourth active wildfire is FS001, a lightning-caused blaze that has been burning since June 4.
Fire crews continue to suppress FS001 to protect values in the area, though none are were at risk as of June 23.
A total of 6,549 hectares have been affected by fires in the Dehcho region.
Dehcho, Beaufort Delta fire danger
Fire danger levels are rated as high at the Wrigley station, and open fires are discouraged.
Danger levels are forecast to remain high at Wrigley on June 24. They will rise from low to high at Fort Liard and Nahanni Butte and to extreme at Fort Simpson.
Levels are expected to rise even higher in the Beaufort Delta, where currently the Fort McPherson station has an extreme rating and Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik are high.
All four stations in the delta will rise to extreme on June 24 and 25, according to ENR.
Extreme heat warning in parts of NWT
The latest fires come as the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) issued a health advisory on June 23 — expected to last until next week — for parts of the Dehcho region and other areas.
Citing an Environment Canada heat warning, the OCPHO said temperatures will reach or exceed 29 C in the day and go down to 17 to 20 C at night in areas including Wrigley, Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Kakisa, Inuvik, Fort McPherson and the Thebacha region, including Fort Smith.
The OCPHO warned that extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and result in dizziness or fainting, nausea, headaches, rapid breathing, extreme thirst and decreased urination.
Individuals at higher risk of adverse health impacts include young children, pregnant women, Elders, people with chronic illnesses or on certain medications and people who spend large amounts of time outdoors.
Residents are advised to reduce their risk of extreme heat exposure by wearing loose-fitting, light-weight clothing, staying hydrated, closing curtains and windows during the hottest hours, using air conditioners or fans and scheduling outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day.