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NWT Wildfires: Crews still battling flames near Fort Liard

Crews focusing on prevent fire from jumping east of Liard River
Smoke from the wildfire near Fort Liard rises into the sky on May 13. The fire continues to burn out of control according to the latest update from NWT Fire on Saturday, but there's has been no significant growth for the past three days.

The wildfire burning near Fort Liard is still out of control, even with some precipitation over the past 24 hours.

The latest update from Saturday afternoon stated that the blaze was sitting at 913 hectares and was still 19 km southwest of the community. A total of five fire crews, three helicopters and two structure protection units are on the ground doing whatever has to be done to stop the fire from getting bigger.

Mike Westwick, information officer for what's known as FS002, stated firefighters were expected to be able to make some progress on the fire Saturday before the weather returned to being dry and warm in the coming days. 

The wind is expected to shift from the south to the southwest in the next two days, which is less favourable, added Westwick.

Crews are currently working to limit the fire’s growth on the west side of the Liard River, attempting to prevent the fire from jumping the river to the east. The fire has not grown significantly since its last growth on Wednesday and there is still no structure loss.

Westwick stated that helicopters will continue to dump water across the fire area throughout Saturday to keep the fire hazard low and that crews are continuing blacklining - extinguishing all fuel within the fire perimeter’s edge - on the island and are aiming for 100 ft. in from the perimeter. 

The north end of the fire has become the primary focus since it is the closest point to the community.

Meanwhile, a new fire located approximately 70 km south east of Jean Marie River and now known as FS006 has been spotted on the north side of the Mackenzie River near Check Point along Highway 1. It's believed to have been started by lightning and is currently 100 hectares in size. It is currently being monitored and is of no risk to communities right now.

Another fire located 40 km south of Fort Simpson near Check Point on Highway 1 at the Liard junction is holding at 22 hectares in size. Crews are still working to put the flames out and water bombers are on standby if needed. Fire activity has been low due to the cooler weather over the past couple of days and crews will be taking advantage of this.

The blaze near the Fort Providence junction and Highway 7 junction continues to burn on both sides of the highway. It now measures just under 10 hectares and is 70 km northwest of Jean Marie River. Two structures have been confirmed lost along this route and several more are at risk..

Officials stated on Saturday that a successful ignition of around 4 km, along a dozer line, on the eastern side of the fire was successfully completed yesterday. Crews will be out blacklining as well on Saturday.