Poor air quality in Yellowknife, Northern Canada as fire grows outside the city

The fire northwest of Yellowknife has nearly doubled since Saturday, but remains no threat to the city, according to a Northwest Territories Fire update Sunday. (Hilary Bird/CBC)
The out-of-control fire northwest of Yellowknife, Arctic Canada has almost doubled since Saturday, but it remains no threat to the city, according to a Northwest Territories government update Sunday.

The fire is now about 2,400 hectares, up from 1,300 hectares wildfire officials quoted at the beginning of the weekend. On Friday afternoon, that number was 900.

The fire started from a lightning strike near Awry Lake on Thursday.

“Ground crews arrived at the fire yesterday, and will be deployed again today if safe to do so,” reads a Northwest Territories Fire update on Facebook Sunday afternoon.

Crews are also building helicopter landing pads and controlled fire burning operations are continuing to burn off fuels on the east and northeast ends of the fire, according to Northwest Territories Fire.

The fire still remains about 42 kilometres away from Yellowknife and is not a threat to the city, states the update.

Minimal precipitation is expected in the following days, and forecasts call for continued hot and dry conditions, says Northwest Territories Fire.

Air quality statement for Yellowknife, Fort Smith

A special air quality statement was issued for Yellowknife on Sunday afternoon, citing pollution from wildfire smoke causing poor air quality in the city.

Environment Canada also issued a statement for Fort Smith and the Salt River First Nation Reserve area near the Alberta border.

Earlier air quality statements over the weekend for Aklavik, Colville Lake, Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson have since ended. Those were mainly due to smoke from wildfires in Alaska.

Heat warnings are persisting across southern parts of the Northwest Territories, with temperatures reaching 30 C.

Wildfire smoke is blowing across the majority of the territory on Sunday, according to a live fire smoke map.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Large wildfires in Yukon, northwestern Canada threaten highway, CBC News

Sweden: Study on Swedish wildfires shows how to make forests rise from the ashes, Radio Sweden

Russia: Arctic summer 2019: record-beating heat, dramatic ice loss and raging wildfires, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Wildfire smoke brings more respiratory complaints in Anchorage, Alaska, Alaska Public Media

Priscilla Hwang, CBC News

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