Fires flare up along Highway 1, near Sambaa K’e and near Hay River

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A newly developed wildfire has closed NWT Highway 1 between the Highway 3 intersection and Jean Marie River access road.

The NWT’s Department of Infrastructure confirmed the fire’s presence and the highway closure just before 4pm on Friday.

NWT Fire said the Highway 1 fire, near Redknife River, was a suspected overwintering fire and was being assessed. The agency warned of “significant fire activity” and smoke in the area.

The development meant wildfires had effectively cut off the Dehcho on Friday, with Highway 7 south to BC closed and Highway 1 east to Hay River, Yellowknife and Alberta also shut down. The ferry to Fort Simpson had been suspended because of wind.

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Elsewhere, there were two fires reported south of Hay River and one near Sambaa K’e. All were being fought by fire crews.

The Highway 1 fire appeared from satellite imagery to be about 17 km east of Sambaa Deh Falls, a popular territorial park along the highway.

At Fort Providence’s Big River gas station, on Highway 3 heading south toward Highway 1, news of the fire had reached drivers waiting for updates on when they can safely travel.

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The fire came on a day that NWT Fire had warned could prove challenging, with strong winds whipping across the Dehcho and into the South Slave.

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The wind forecast for Friday and early Saturday across the Dehcho and South Slave. See more on Cabin Radio’s weather page.

In Hay River, some outdoor events moved indoors to get out of the wind. A fire flared up on Pattersons Road, just south of the town, to which the Hay River Fire Department was responding on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a separate fire – believed to be person-caused – began opposite the AWP Industries yard near Enterprise. “It will be actioned and assessed further,” NWT Fire stated.

In Fort Simpson, the NWT Power Corporation said trees were down because of the wind and crews were en route to address the problem.

In Fort Liard, the community placed residents on evacuation notice – an early warning to be ready – in case a wildfire some 22 km southwest of the Hamlet advances closer in the conditions. As of 4pm on Friday, Highway 7 was closed at the BC-NWT border because of fires in northern BC.

Just outside Sambaa K’e, NWT Fire reported a suspected human-caused fire that was being attacked by ground crews. Winds were expected to push the fire, southeast of Sambaa K’e, away from the community, and NWT Fire said Sambaa K’e “is not currently at threat.”

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