Edzo, N.W.T., residents asked to be prepared in case of emergency over nearby wildfire

A welcome sign near Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T.  (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)
A welcome sign near Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T. (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)

Residents of Edzo, N.W.T., are being asked to prepare for a possible emergency because of a nearby lightning-caused fire.

The Behchokǫ̀ community government issued an evacuation notice Tuesday morning over the fire burning near Marian Lake Village, 18 kilometres north of Behchokǫ̀'s airport. The evacuation notice doesn't mean people have to leave — just that they should be prepared in case the wildfire gets closer.

An update from N.W.T. Fire Tuesday afternoon also said "there is a risk that this wildfire impacts Behchokǫ̀ at Edzo" within the next 12 to 48 hours, based on weather conditions and fire activity.

An evacuation notice comes before an evacuation alert and an evacuation order. Only an evacuation order means people need to leave.

20 new ignitions in 48 hours 

Wildfire information officer Mike Westwick told CBC a hot and dry weekend across the N.W.T. saw "very, very heavy fire activity," with 20 new ignitions in 48 hours.

Westwick said wind over the next few days is a significant concern for managing the fire near Edzo. Winds on Tuesday are expected to gust between 35 and 50 kilometres from the north, shifting west in the afternoon, which could push the fire south toward Marian Lake.

"The greatest concern is continued north winds, followed up by winds from the west, or spot fires ... across parts of Marian Lake could cause threat to Behchokǫ̀ (Edzo)," the update said.

The lightning-caused fire began on the west shores of Marian Lake near Marian Lake Village on Sunday.

Westwick also said there was an apparent person-caused fire on an island on Great Slave Lake near Dettah over the weekend, where a cabin was lost to the fire.