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N.W.T. premier, ministers to address wildfire that’s reached Behchokǫ̀ | CBC News


N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane, several territorial ministers and department experts are set to provide an update on the ongoing response to the 1,000-square-kilometre wildfire that burned three homes in Behchokǫ̀ and has repeatedly closed Highway 3 to Yellowknife.

Cochrane will be joined by Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Shane Thompson, Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie and Health Minister Julie Green at 4:30 p.m.

Tune in here or on our CBC North Facebook page.

The news conference comes in the midst of what fire officials were expecting to be another challenging day of extreme fire behaviour, with winds gusting up to 40 or 45 kilometres an hour blowing the fire toward Behchokǫ̀.

Overnight, the fire burned into part of Behchokǫ̀ and consumed three homes. The community of about 2,000 people remains under an evacuation order, with many residents fleeing to Yellowknife’s Multiplex.

Highway 3 is once again closed.

In an update at 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday, N.W.T. Fire said the fire has exploded in size. Previously recorded at just over 63,000 hectares (630 square kilometres), it is now measured at more than 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometres).

The fire burned over Highway 3 between kilometres 248 and 279. It is 2.5 kilometres east of Frank Channel, five kilometres northeast of Edzo and 45 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife.

N.W.T. Fire says it moved 20 kilometres in less than four hours Tuesday, as extreme winds drove it west.

The Stagg River power station and the fibre optic line along Highway 3 have not yet been compromised.

Fire crews have not yet been able to assess what structures, if any, have been lost along Highway 3, and are focusing on protecting the rest of Behchokǫ̀.

Six fire crews are working around the community to put up sprinkler lines and put out hot spots.


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