18 new forest fires started Tuesday in the N.W.T.

Deline, N.W.T. is just one community in the territory that is threatened by forest fires this week. (Terri Smith)A total of 49 forest fires are blazing across the Northwest Territories

Lightning storms started 18 new fires in the N.W.T. on Tuesday, bringing the total number of forest fires blazing in the territory to 49.

There are four new fires in Inuvik and 14 in the Sahtu region.

Helicopters are in the air, keeping an eye on conditions and the progress of the fires.

Crews are assessing a number of blazes and firefighters on the ground are making sure the flames stay clear of communities.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources map depicting lightning in the Northwest Territories.According to residents of Fort Good Hope, many of the fires have started to go down, likely due to rain. But at least one small fire, about 100 kilometres north of the community, appears to be growing.

Last week crews tried to tackle a 500 hectare fire burning north of Deline, N.W.T., but had to back off because it was out of control.

Already this year there have been 72 fires in the N.W.T., covering an area of more than 37,000 hectares. Firefighters have extinguished 23.

This year’s early hot weather has made conditions more susceptible to fires but no records have been broken yet.

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