Continued dry conditions this past winter could mean more risk of fire this year in the southern Northwest Territories and areas surrounding Yellowknife once the snow melts, says the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

According to ENR, the wildland fire season in the Northwest Territories begins May 1st and ends September 30th.

The NWT has seen a dry spring and is forecast to have above average warming and drying conditions for large portions of the territory.

The forecast for the 2018 season is similar to the 2017 season, with a slow, cool start to the season in May, and fire behaviour continuing throughout August and into early September.

“So far in 2018, there are some unusually dry conditions in northern Alberta that may influence fire conditions in the southern NWT,” says Richard Olsen, Manager of Fire Operations at ENR.

“Portions of the North Slave Region are likely to be drier and at more risk come August.”

On average, there are 224 wildland fires in the NWT every year,  88 per cent of which are caused by lightning.

Other causes of fires include people and industry, and all suspected person-caused fires are investigated.

Wildland fire updates will be posted as the fire season progresses. Smoke forecasts are available through firesmoke.ca and residents can check the ENR website, NWT Fire on Facebook and  @NWTFire on Twitter for regular updates.

Residents can report wildland fires on the toll-free number – 1-877-NWT-FIRE.