Part of N.W.T. Highway 3 closed due to wildfire

Northwest Territories Highway 3 between Behchoko and Fort Providence, N.W.T., is closed due to a forest fire in the area, say highway officials.

The 213-kilometre stretch of highway was closed at about 4:30 p.m. MT Monday, according to the territorial Transportation Department.

"The Department of Transportation is closing Highway 3 from Behchoko through to Fort Providence because of the Birch Creek fire, which has grown in size and has taken a turn towards the highway," department spokesman Earl Blacklock told CBC News.

"This closure is expected to be for at least 24 hours, so at least until five o'clock Tuesday afternoon."

The forest fire is burning about 70 kilometres from Behchoko.

Blacklock said Highway 3 will remain open between Yellowknife and Behchoko.

Motorists are advised to check the Transportation Department's website or call 1-800-661-0750 to get the latest road conditions.

Wildfire officials say they are keeping an eye on the 13 or so forest fires are currently burning across the Northwest Territories.

"Fire is a natural occurrence on the landscape … we're just monitoring them right now," David Purchase of the N.W.T.'s Environment Department said earlier on Monday.

"About every two days or so we'll send an aircraft out, take a look at them, make sure that they're not doing anything that we don't expect them to do out there."

Firefighters in Yellowknife, along with some water bombers and a helicopter, tackled a fire at the city landfill on Sunday.

City officials said they were not too worried about the dump fire, which flared up amid temperatures in the mid-20 C range.

"It's a chemical chain reaction, so whatever is in the dump itself is going to heat up and start the fire going," said deputy fire chief Gerda Groothuizen.

The landfill fire is under control, and no damages or injuries were reported, according to officials.