Firefighters working to protect the N.W.T. town of Hay River are bracing for weather conditions "that would support severe fire activity" in the area Sunday.
A hot and windy day is forecasted for Hay River.
N.W.T. fire information officer Mike Westwick says crews worked the northern perimeter of the fire on Saturday and were able to "get some good work done there."
"We had a really aggressive air fight," Westwick said of the firefighting efforts Saturday. "A good day yesterday preparing for a potentially difficult one today."
A second evacuation of remaining residents and essential workers was issued Friday due to a "blow up event" in the area. Officials confirmed Saturday night that two cabins and a travel trailer were lost just west of the town near the shores of Great Slave Lake.
Hay River N.W.T. residents board military plane on August 25, 2023 (JTF North/X)
Westwick says there are nearly 200 people working with more than 20 pieces of heavy equipment. As well, 10 helicopters and air tankers are being dispatched as visibility allows.
The fire remains about one kilometer from the Hay River Airport and 1.5 kilometers from the town centre.
Officials say it crossed Highway 5 between kilometer six and 20.
Mayor Kandis Jameson said on Saturday the Canadian Coast Guard is on standby in case the wildfire situation worsens and further emergency evacuations are needed.
A spokesperson for the Coast Guard said CCGS Eckaloo is able to take 30 evacuees at a time to a safe location that is suitable to the conditions.
The spokesperson said there are also smaller boats in the harbour that are "more limited in their capacity and are available to assist with the evacuation."
Yellowknife fire saw 'some activity'
In Yellowknife, Westwick says the fire remains about 15 kilometers from the community with "some activity to the north end of the fire" over the weekend.
"Basically there's two fingers on either side of the highway, one to the south, one to the north," said Westwick.
"The objective there is to continue to make progress up those fingers and get to a place where the risk is reduced enough that we can bring the 20,000-plus folks home."
Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty said once there is a timeline for a return to the community, it will be done in a phased approach so that services can be restored before the bulk of the population returns.