North

A mild season for wildfires in the N.W.T. this year

The Northwest Territories has had a low number of wildfires this season. An increase in precipitation is likely a contributing factor.

Only 69 wildfires to date, low in comparison to last year, says ENR officer

A wildfire burns near Behchoko, N.W.T., on June 30. (NWT Fire/Facebook)

Wildfire season is coming to a close in the N.W.T. and so far it's been mostly quiet, says Amber Simpson, wildfire information officer at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A total of 69 wildfires have burned across the territory this year, affecting about 21,477 hectares of land.

Simpson said as of now, only nine of those fires are still active and are of no immediate threat to the communities.

She said these numbers are low in comparison to last season.

"Last year on today's date we had 142 fires affecting 94,065 hectares," Simpson said at the wildfire briefing held Monday.

She said the low number of wildfires this year could be from the increased precipitation the territory's been having.

"We've had quite a bit of rain. It's been a pretty wet season, so I definitely would say that's a factor."

Earlier this season, six of the reported wildfires across the territory were suspected to be human caused.

Simpson said she expects the rest of the season will be just as mild.

"The N.W.T. is looking to move into seasonal and below seasonal conditions into September and with the amount of precipitation overall the wildfire risk is fairly low," Simpson said.

This year, the Northwest Territories had to change its firefighting strategy to rely less on crews from other jurisdictions in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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