According to the Government of the Northwest Territories highway conditions map, the highway between Hay River, N.W.T. and Fort Smith is closed due to a nearby wildfire.
This comes as both communities have been ordered to evacuate due to the wildfires.
On Saturday, residents of Fort Smith were first directed to travel to Hay River, but one day later Hay River also faces an evacuation order from a nearby wildfire of its own.
Adam McNab, the director of protective services for the Town of Fort Smith, said that having 70 per cent of the community leave in the first day is pretty high, but they hope to get more people out on Sunday.
He said although they can't force people from their homes, the order is as "mandatory as they can make it."
When fires threaten highways, they're usually quick events, McNab said.
"The fire burns and then once it burns across, crews can get in and air quality starts to improve," he said.
But in this case, the fire is burning along the highway, not across it, he added.
A photo taken near Fort Smith shows a red sky covered in smoke on Sunday evening. (Julie Beaver/CBC)
Pamela Basil was one of the Fort Smith evacuees.
"We saw like little fires here and there," she said about her drive out of town.
Basil said she also saw a bison that had been singed by fire.
"It was like burned on its leg ... and it was still grazing, I was like 'oh my goodness.'"
Henry Bueckert drove the evacuation bus from Fort Smith to Hay River over the weekend.
He started his day at 2 a.m. Saturday and expected to work until midnight, but said he had no issue doing so.
"There's a lot of super nice people, under a lot of pressure, they're still smiling," he said.
Henry Bueckert drove a bus of evacuees from Fort Smith to Hay River on Saturday and will be doing the same on Sunday. (Julie Beaver/CBC)
Michelle Scott is the owner of Aunty's Korner Store in Fort Smith. She says she's staying in town to keep her shop open for emergency workers and others who remain.
"Realizing that there was not much left in Fort Smith that was open," she said, "we thought this would be a great opportunity to help them out with food and drinks."
Jane Park, Parks Canada incident commander, said the evacuation order came as they expect difficult conditions Sunday due to high winds.
Park said the fire remains over 20 kilometres away from the community, but it could move as much as eight kilometres during the day and continue spreading through to midnight.
"It's 20-30 kilometres away at the moment, but the reason we're doing these preemptive evacuations is that things can change very quickly and we don't want the public to be evacuating during that type of event," she said.
Michelle Scott who runs Aunty's Korner Store Ltd. is staying in Fort Smith and offering services to those who remain. (Julie Beaver/CBC)
Raymond Beaver, a retired firefighter in Fort Smith, says the fire getting so close is a failure in the firefighting system. He says firefighting should be the responsibility of First Nations.
"Let the First Nations take care of their own land we have a tie to the land, people who don't have ties to the land don't care if it burns or not and that's the simple truth, that sad truth," he said.
Raymond Beaver is a retired firefighter in Fort Smith. He says First Nation's should be responsible for fighting fires on their land. (Julie Beaver/CBC)