Fire bans for Fred Henne, Yellowknife River, MacKinnon, Wood Buffalo

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Ahead of the long weekend, the Northwest Territories government has announced fire bans at its Fred Henne and Yellowknife River territorial parks.

The news follows an announcement on Thursday that the City of Yellowknife is implementing a fire ban of its own within city limits. That ban took effect at noon on Friday.

Yellowknife’s fire ban covers open-air burning fire pits but does not affect CSA-approved propane-fuelled pits and barbecues.

Territorial parks in the city are governed separately but the N.W.T. Parks rules are similar. In the Fred Henne and Yellowknife River parks, camp stoves, enclosed barbecues and propane-fuelled cooking and heating devices are still allowed. They must be placed in regulation fire pits and there are rules on the size of flame allowed.

The Town of Norman Wells has implemented a fire ban within its municipal boundaries. The territorial government said a matching ban had been put in place for MacKinnon Territorial Park, which is located on the banks of the Mackenzie River within Norman Wells.

Fire bans have been in effect for more than a week across the entirety of Wood Buffalo National Park, and a wildfire is burning in the southwest area of the park.

The bans are not the only way wildfires will affect camping this long weekend.

Campsite reservations are not available at multiple N.W.T. parks to prioritize wildfire evacuees from Hay River and the Kátł'odeeche First Nation. Bookings at Louise Falls, Escarpment Creek, Fort Providence and Lady Evelyn Falls campgrounds have been suspended until further notice.

The Hay River campground is a no-go as the community has been closed by a nearby wildfire.

Caitrin Pilkington, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio