Wildfire rolls towards Behchokǫ̀’s Edzo neighbourhood, evacuation notice issued

An aggressive initial attack from the air and ground was launched, but extreme conditions led to the fire escaping

The peaceful existence for residents of Edzo has been shattered by an evacuation notice due to a wildfire 17 kilometres away. (Photo courtesy of David Adamec/Wikipedia)

There is a risk that a 200-hectare wildfire could impact Behchokǫ̀ in the Edzo neighbourhood within the next 12 to 48 hours based on weather conditions and fire activity.

The fire is 17 kilometres from the community one hour’s drive from Yellowknife and was caused by lightning on the west shores of Marian Lake near a location known locally as Marian Lake Village on Sunday.

Mike Westwick is a wildfire information officer with the GNWT.

“(It) received aggressive initial attack from the air and ground upon discovery,” he stated. “Extreme conditions led to the fire escaping initial attack.”

High winds from the north and west over the next two days are a significant concern in managing this wildfire, he stated in a release today.

Sustained winds of 20 to 30 km/h gusting between 35 and 50 km/h from the North, shifting west this afternoon which could push fire to the south and towards Marian Lake.

Residents need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, so it’s advisable to have some necessities and clothes packed.

It is very dry with relative humidity between 20 and 30 per cent.

Tomorrow, winds forecast from west 20 km/h sustained gusting up to 35 km/h.

Continued hot, dry conditions may support significant fire activity.

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). Spot fires across Frank Channel is a secondary concern.

Forest fuels are primarily spruce and pine old growth forests in this area – both supporting significant fire activity.

Multiple airtankers hit the fire hard with drops throughout the day and evening yesterday and began early this morning and a helicopter is making bucket drops on the fire to reduce its intensity in strategic locations to assist ground crews.

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: james.oconnor@cklbradio.com.