Three days of ‘more favourable winds’ will help battle Fort Liard blaze, says NWT Fire

UPDATE: In separate blaze, NWT Fire confirms two structures lost along Hwy 1 and more properties are at risk

Fort Liard fire remains 19 kms from the community. (Photo courtesy of NWT Fire.)

Some promising news for people in the Dehcho region, as a shift in winds today will push the uncontained blaze back on itself and away from people or structures, stated an NWT Fire update.

Mike Westwick is the NWT Fire spokesperson for the 873-hectare Fort Liard blaze (FS002).

Mike Westwick NWT Fire spokesperson during a May 14 media call. (Image courtesy Microsoft Teams.)

“Today, winds expected to come from the north welcoming in a run of three days of more favourable winds … These will be conditions which will allow us to make good progress on this fire,” he stated.

“Our objectives are to limit growth on the west side of the Liard River, prevent fire from crossing to the east the Liard River, and proactively prepare protections in Fort Liard.”

A notice that the community could be evacuated remains in effect.

On Tuesday, helicopters bucketed throughout the day and fire crews were able to work on the island in the middle of the Liard River.

Crews have begun to ‘blackline’ which means to extinguish all fuel within the fire perimeter’s edge. They will now continue to cut off paths for the fire to cross the Liard River to the east.

The fire danger forecast places Fort Simpson and Nahanni Butte at high risk, with Wrigley at medium risk, but high starting tomorrow.

A new fire (FS005) 40 kms south of Fort Simpson near Check Point on Highway 1 at the Liard junction is also 40 kms west of Jean Marie River.

It has grown from less than one hectare in size to 22 hectares as of Wednesday morning. Some rain showers on Tuesday have helped prevent any significant growth. Heavy equipment and crews will be working to further contain the fire along the highway

The Fort Liard fire remains on the west side of the river. (Photo courtesy of NWT Fire.)

Highway 1 from the Liard Crossing ferry to the Highway 3 intersection south of Fort Providence remains closed.

Links below are to short videos from a helicopter, courtesy of NWT Fire.

Liard fire flight

Liard fire fight

Regional fire restrictions continue being implemented in Dehcho Region, prohibiting any open flames and other activities effective immediately.

These restrictions are effective through May 24 and may be extended if necessary.

Check the GNWT’s highway conditions page for information on road closures. See the NWT’s Fire Map here.

To report a forest fire, call: 1-877-698-3473 (1-877-NWTFIRE) at any time of day.



The overwinter fire on Highway 1 (FS004) between the Fort Providence junction and Highway 7 junction continues to burn on both sides of highway in the Dehcho and South Slave regions. The closest community is Jean Marie River, nearly 70 kms northwest. Numerous values along the highway are at risk.

“We have confirmed the loss of two structures along this route,” stated NWT Fire’s Mike Westwick.

Aircraft are reassessing to determine if fire has jumped the river to the northwest, or if lightning has possibly started a new fire.

Teams and heavy equipment are working along the highway to cap growth to the east and will continue to protect assets as best possible.

Check road closures before travelling :


The NWT’s five-region totals so far in 2024:

Total active fires: 7

New fires in the last 24 hours: 0

Fires receiving response: 7

Fires declared out: 6

Total fires this year: 13

Hectares affected: 1864 Ha

No fires to date in Sahtu or Beaufort Delta, all in North Slave, South Slave and Dehcho regions.


About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: