Highway 1 Closure and Implications for Wildfires in the NWT

The NWT’s Department of Infrastructure has announced that Highway 1 will be closed between the Alberta border and the Kakisa access road starting at 7pm on Friday. This closure is due to forecasted high winds and the potential danger they pose for wildfires in the area. Both fire and smoke are expected to make the road unsafe for travel.

As a result of this closure, a plan to send essential workers back to Yellowknife has been postponed. The city has been under an evacuation order for over two weeks and was planning to reopen, but the concerns surrounding the road conditions have delayed this process. The NWT’s Department of Infrastructure has strongly discouraged any unnecessary travel during this time.

Highways 2, 5, and 6 remain closed except for use by first responders and supply vehicles with granted access. Highway 3 is open to southbound traffic but closed to northbound traffic beyond Behchokǫ̀. When Highway 1 is open, essential traffic such as first responders, trucks carrying fuel and groceries, and approved essential staff will be allowed to travel northbound into Yellowknife.

The closure of Highway 1 also poses challenges for fire crews defending the South Slave communities of Fort Smith and Hay River. The high winds could make it difficult to control and contain wildfires in these areas.

The NWT’s Department of Infrastructure will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary. It is important for residents and travelers to stay informed and follow the guidance provided by authorities during this time.