N.W.T. fire season well above average already

With 69,000 hectares burned so far, the fire season is off to a roaring start in the Northwest Territories.

69,000 hectares burned so far, compared to average of 5,000 hectares for this time of year

Smoke from a forest fire is visible May 25 from N.W.T. Highway 3 outside Behchoko. (submitted by Elora Braden)

The fire season is off to a roaring start in the Northwest Territories this year, with 51 fires so far and 69,000 hectares burned.

For this time of year, the 20-year average is seven fires and 5,000 hectares burned.

Richard Olsen, manager of fire operations for N.W.T., says they are pre-emptively working on fires they believe have the potential to grow.

"We have been being a little more vigilant in terms of our response to some of these fires, to put a little bit of work up front to prevent a lot of work at the end of it," he said.

Olsen says the controlled burn operation which closed Highway 3 for 12 hours on Friday was a success. Crews will continue to work the southern part of that fire over the next few days.

In the Dehcho region, crews continue to try and stop a fire about 75 kilometres east of Jean Marie River from growing.

Olsen says a warmer weather front could bring rain along with lightning later in the week. He says that could start new fires and the department is considering bringing in additional resources.

To report a wildfire in N.W.T. call 1-877-NWTFIRE (698-3473).

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