Hazy, smokey skies continue to blanket parts of the N.W.T. prompting health advisories

Lutselk’e, N.W.T. is one of several communities in the Northwest Territories that has been blanketed by smoke over the past few days thanks to strong south winds blowing smoke up north from fires burning south of Great Slave Lake.

Smoke is being blown north from fires south of Great Slave Lake

A before and after image showing how smoke has moved into Lutselk'e, N.W.T. (Submitted by Addie Jonasson)

Addie Jonasson from Lutselk'e, N.W.T., was unable to see much farther than half a kilometre from her house Monday. Her community was covered with a thick layer of smoke.

On most days, Jonasson is able to look off her back porch and see Tomato Island in the distance, but on Monday morning all she saw was haze on the water.

"It's like campfire or wood smoke," she explained. "It's kind of a blue haze. From the back of my house, you could see the blue haze in the trees."

Lutselk'e is one of several communities in the Northwest Territories that has been blanketed by smoke over the past few days. Strong south winds blew the smoke up north from fires burning south of Great Slave Lake.

Environment Canada issued health advisories over the weekend, and re-issued the warnings again Monday in some of the worst areas.

The advisories cover Yellowknife, Lutselk'e, Wekweeti, Whati, Behchoko, Fort Resolution and Fort Smith.  

People may have difficulty breathing outdoors and could see increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath, according to Environment Canada.

Fire officials with the N.W.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources say the continuing hot, dry weather is to blame.

"All of the fuel that's pretty much out there has become available to burn," said Richard Olsen, the department's manager of fire operations.

"Even compared to two weeks ago, things have really dried up," he said. "With these record breaking temperatures and drier conditions, everything that's subject to fire is burning." 

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