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Smoke from one of Northwest Territories' worst fire seasons made it to Portugal

Sunday, July 3rd 2022, 10:42 am - On this day in weather history, 92 wildfires were active in the Northwest Territories.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


By Thursday, July 3, 2014, 123 fires were reported in the Northwest Territories and 92 were still active. On average, N.W.T. gets around 245 fires each year, but in 2014, the territory saw 385.

The 2014 N.W.T. wildfire season was highly active and broke several records.

fire Courtesy of Government of Northwest Territories

It cost $56.1 million to fight the fires that year. That included $24 million on aircraft and around $7 million on personnel. A total of 3.4 million hectares of forest land were burned.

The smoke from the fires reached North Dakota, which is over 2,000 km south. The smoke also headed east, through the Maritimes and into Portugal.

During N.W.T.'s extremely aggressive fire season, no injuries or deaths were reported. However, a report of the season outlined that there is room for improvement for firefighter working conditions.

The report mentions that demanding fire seasons require more personnel. The territorial government can utilize 28 five-person firefighting crews. The report suggests that the configuration should change to 36 four-person crews.

smoke Courtesy of Government of Northwest Territories

The 2014 fire seasons also highlighted the need for better communication. The report shares that the government needs to improve communication with communities on the status of adjacent fires. This includes an improved website, a dedicated communications officer, increased social media presence, and the inclusion of aboriginal languages on fire signage.

smokey Courtesy of Government of Northwest Territories

N.W.T.'s 2014 wildfire season was highly active and led to much larger discussions around fire management.

To learn more about N.W.T.'s 2014 wildfire season, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Government of Northwest Territories

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